This review has SPOILERS for this movie, which is currently available on the Redbox inside your house, Netflix. Ladies and gentlemen, if you have not seen this film I suggest you STOP reading immediately and make yourself some popcorn.
In “A Fantastic Fear of Everything,” directors Crispian Mills and Chris Hopewell, with the help of the talented actor Simon Pegg, deliver a dark comedy that is simple in the best way, and deranged.
Pegg plays Jack Nife, a writer who decided that writing a children’s book about a loveable hedgehog named Harold is not enough, even though it is a successful series.
Instead, Jack switches gears and becomes a crime novelist who spends his time researching and writing about serial killers. To him, serial killers and writers are the same: both have dark pasts that must be told.
Although the switch seemed like a good idea at the time to Jack, the audience quickly discovers that Jack is growing increasingly more obsessed with his intense research, and it begins to take a toll on his personal life.
The movie opens with a very paranoid Jack locking himself inside his apartment and listening for any possible serial killers lurking in the shadows. Convinced that everyone around him is a suspect, Jack becomes overwhelmed with fear: he carries around a carving knife inside his apartment while walking around in his worn-out tighty-whities.
Jack also narrates events, which turns his (and our) every waking moment into the stuff of eerie crime novels. Every phone ring becomes filled with fateful importance.
Jack interrupts his spiral into madness to describe to the audience the moment his fear of being murdered began. During a lunch meeting with his literary agent some time ago, we discover the main reason Jack doesn’t want to write a children’s book is because it destroyed his marriage. His agent tries to encourage Jack to stay a children’s book writer, but Jack has made up his mind to continue his current (crazy) project.
As the meeting comes to a close, Claire tells Jack that there is a man who wants to meet with him regarding the new project. Jack’s fear begins to take control and he convinces himself that this new stranger might be related to a series of unsolved murders.
Jack is determined to go, regardless of the risks. His heebie-jeebies flare up when he realizes that he doesn’t have any clean clothes for his meeting! Refusing to step outside his front door, Jack decides to do laundry in his sink and uses the stove to dry. No harm there right? Lost in his thoughts, Jack smells “burning garbage” and snaps back to reality, rushing to the kitchen to rescue what is left of his burnt clothes.
With no option left, Jack is driven to the brink of a breakdown by having to visit the one place that is the source of all his fears: the local launderette.
A Fantastic Fear of Everything is an interesting film, definitely worth watching amidst the red sea of Netflix titles. This dark comedy has a funny premise and is photographed flawlessly, with captivating cinematography. Let’s not forget Simon Pegg’s outstanding performance. Being able to transform from a BADASS in all of Edgar Wright’s films to playing a potential psychotic brought down by laundry is truly fantastic.