Regularly watching the evening news can turn the easily frightened into a hermit. If you based your worldly outlook on news reports, you could think that someone wishing to harm you lurked in every corner. The same, apparently, can be said about true crime writers since learning the minute details of a murder can be quite unsettling. At least that's how it started in Toronto After Dark
's A Fantastic Fear of Everything
Jack (Simon Pegg) accidentally became a children's author when all he aspired to be was a serious writer. Determined to turn his career around, he throws himself into a project about Victorian serial killers. Unfortunately the grisly details turn him into a paranoid wreck, convinced the city is filled with murderers plotting his untimely death. When a Hollywood agent shows interest in his floundering project, Jack is pushed to overcome his fear or risk missing his big break - though his efforts may be repaid with a breakdown instead.
If an opening credit sequence can predict the quality of the film to follow, this movie was a winner from the start. A stunning animation of London's underbelly paired with a beat-perfect orchestral soundtrack sets the bar high early on. What follows is an entertainingly manic Pegg sneaking around his apartment with a kitchen knife and jumping at shadows.
Pegg is in almost every scene, spending the entire first act in just his underwear and a robe. But he truly is a leading man and has no trouble carrying the weight of the picture on his shoulders. Talking to himself appears to come naturally, as does Jack's irrational suspicion of everything - including the phone. Nonetheless, a highlight is when he performs a gangsta rap in the middle of his living room in a towel.
The script is packed with humor only someone like Pegg could pull off. From the above mentioned rap to being mistaken for a killer. Having become an expert in "the criminal stare," Jack feels he can identify a murderer just by looking into their eyes. There are also several references to other movies in the film with Repulsion
being one of the most apt as Jack cowers in his apartment, imagining invaders.
Audiences are lucky that between making blockbusters actors like Pegg still take the time to do a 28-day shoot simply because the material is good – it wouldn't have been the same without him.
Directors: Crispian Mills
and Chris Hopewell
Starring: Simon Pegg
, Zaak Conway
and Alan Drake