Simon Pegg mugs for all he's worth in this half-cocked horror-comedy that's neither scary nor amusing.
As the star of this psychological/surreal horror comedy, Simon Pegg once again proves his worth as an industrious comic performer in a film that, on the surface, appears well suited to his talents.
Unfortunately for Pegg, the material he’s working with is so muddled and devoid of intelligent humour that A Fantastic Fear of Everything will probably only be remembered only as one of the lesser entries into the canon of contemporary British comedy.
When children’s novelist Jack (Pegg) decides to try his hand at crime fiction, his obsessive research into serial killers results in an irrational paranoia of everything. A mysterious Hollywood exec wants to meet Jack to discuss his script, forcing Jack to confront his past demons, in particular the source of all his fears: the launderette.
Riddled with worn-out gags about soiled pants and with spurious musical interludes crowbarred in for no reason, the combined effect can only be compared to the experience when suffering a flu-induced hallucination.
So confused in tone and direction is Crispian Mills and Chris Hopewell's film that, as it osculates violently between comic farce, macabre Gothic horror and pop video flash, the only reaction is to dissolve into hysteria at its general lack of competency and logic.
Some credit should, however, go to co-director Chris Hopewell who constructs one sequence of stop motion puppetry that evokes the detailed visual craft of Dutch-Canadian animator, Co Hoedeman. It's a sequence that, in all honesty, serves as the only real highlight.
Aside from some awfully misjudged gags about the Vietnamese, A Fantastic Fear of Everything is in the end its own worst enemy. Though never offensively bad, it's main crime is that it's often obscenely dull. And as the first film to come from a new funding scheme instigated by Pinewood Studios, this is an inauspicious effort indeed.
Surreal horror-comedy is territory Pegg has proven success.
Alas, it's often laughably bad, but with the odd creative interlude.
As a pet project from the frontman of mystical Brit poppers, Kula Shaker, A Fantastic Fear of Everything isn’t nearly as psychedelic or as funny as it needs to be.