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3.6 out of 5 stars74
3.6 out of 5 stars
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 13 April 2013
At what first seems to be an interesting mainstream serial comedy premise with British boy done good Simon Pegg, slowly turns into something really rather quirky & bizarre with some genuine inspired idea's used in places along with some good laugh's. However getting there you have to sit through a lot of drawn out content just to see these little morsels of delight. Which depending on your take on things with this style over substance approach, will either be more than worth it, or simply not worth it at all.

A long haired & bearded Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead) stars as Jack, a successful children's author whose main characters are a hedgehog & rabbit, taking the step into the murky waters of crime writing. As we meet him at home in his London flat where he has been some 3 weeks, researching into the most depraved serial killers from the Victorian era for his "Decades of Death" novel/script, he has become house bound & driven himself neurotic & paranoid, that he see's things that aren't there & jumps to the wrong conclusion about everything based on his research. As his agent gets him a meeting with a Hollywood executive, we follow Jack as *cough* intermittent *cough* comedy & mayhem ensues, as he tries to pull himself together & overcome his fear, to get to the meeting. Easier said than done.

I have to admit that i was tempted to turn this off after 30 minutes, but i found those morsels of delight too intriguing to pass up, even if it came at a cost of watching Simon Pegg in some brain searing underpants for a well over extended period of time. The situational humor was good, and i particularly enjoyed the psychiatrist & Jack scene that played in real life although they were talking over the phone & the Fantastic Mr Fox like animation scenes that used Jack's children's book protagonist hedgehog creation with a twist of adult humor. The cinematography of the film itself when you realise this was written, produced & directed by Crispian Mills from indie rock band Kula Shaker & co-directed by music video director Chris Hopwell, a lot of the visual idea's used in the film could very well have come out of a Franz Ferdinand or Scissor Sisters music video, it has that surreal feel about it at times.

Based on the popular & funny book "Paranoia in the Launderette" by Bruce Robinson (Withnail and I) you have to point the finger a little at the inexperience in film making/writing of Mr Mills who turns this short & snappy 43 page book into a movie which stretch's the material over 1 hour 40 minute's, and it shows with overly long scenes, that should had been shorter & more snappy like the book. On the acting front, Simon Pegg threw all he had into the role as attested by his commitment on screen into the role, and can hold his up high with his fellow co-stars Clare Higgins (Hellraiser) as the forceful agent , Amara Karan (The Darjeeling Limited) as Jacks love interest & Paul Freeman (Raiders Of The Lost Ark) as the eccentric psychiatrist.

In conclusion, A Fantastic Fear Of Everything clings by it's paranoid chewed nails to my 3 star rating. It has it's moments & Simon Pegg makes it, but the source material is ultimately overstretched that the genuine laughs are too far apart & it's hard to keep interested. I do see potential in Mr Mills as a movie maker & i hope he learns a lot from this. If your open minded & can live with these flaws it's worth a watch.
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A Fantastic Fear of Everything (AFFOE) is the tale of children's-author-gone-morbid-writer Jack. Cooped up in his dark and eerie Hackney flat, he has developed an insufferable paranoia that everyone is trying to kill him due to the subject of his latest book - an in-depth look at the who's who of London's historic killers. Confined to the flat by a combination of fear and societal shame, Jack wallows in his own filth & self-pity until a phone-call spurs him to meet a potential buyer for his manuscript. But with paranoia & insomnia abounding, the main obstacle Jack faces is the laundrette to clean his clothes for the meet. With a long-standing irrational fear of the places - this may be his undoing. Will Jack manage to pull himself together?

With its deeply unsettling plasticized introductory panning across London to his flat and the unsettlingly-framed shots of the interior of his flat it's clear that AFFOE is not a straight-comedy as might be expected featuring Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead) as the leading man. What follows is rather dull in places, his fear really not carrying across to the audience as we are left to ponder just why Jack is so irrational. The gags largely come from slapstick and only the inclusion of a seriously surreal phone conversation with his therapist (played by Paul Freeman - Hot Fuzz) adds any notable entertainment.

The direction is wobbly by first timer Crispian Mills (the guy from Kula Shaker!) When the proverbial record skips to the laundrette there is slightly more intrigue; but again the humour relies almost entirely on slapstick. The ending leaves something to be desired, ending as abruptly as it began with a ham-fisted inclusion of another plot thread. Whilst defenders of this film will shout "subtext" at me, I failed to find the substance to any of this story and I approached with an open mind and love Pegg in general.

Extra content: There's a director's commentary accompanied by Simon Pegg, some deleted scenes and an introduction to the film.

Worth a watch if you are a die-hard Pegg fan and for something different. But falls far short of blowing your mind.
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Hedgehogs. Serial killers. Laundrettes. Clean socks and underwear.

People are used to Simon Pegg either playing comic roles in funny movies ("Hot Fuzz," "Shawn of the Dead"), or playing slightly less comic roles in serious movies ("Star Trek"). But "A Fantastic Fear Of Everything" brings up blinding, frothing-at-the-mouth terror in some of the weirdest places -- a weird black comedy with a somewhat unbalanced structure.

Children's author Jack (Pegg) is currently working on a nonfiction book about serial killers... which has turned him into a paranoid delusional mess who can barely leave his squalid apartment. He's convinced that a serial killer called the Hanoi Handshake killer is coming after him.

Then his agent informs him that a Hollywood type named Harvey Humphries wants to see his book, and it's his only chance of selling it. The meeting is at 8 p.m. Unfortunately, Jack has no clean clothes -- and in his frantic attempt to clean his underwear and socks, he ends up burning off half his hair and super-gluing a knife to his hand. And he still has no clean clothes.

Unfortunately, he also has a crippling fear of laundrettes (aka laundromats), due to his mother abandoning him there. But on the advice of his psychiatrist, he sets out to confront his fear and do his laundry in time for his meeting... only to unleash mayhem in the laundrette, and encounter something that he really SHOULD be afraid of.

"A Fantastic Fear of Everything" is a much darker movie than most of Simon Pegg's previous movies -- the comedy here can be black as charcoal, even though it is still wickedly funny. Lots of Jack lurching around in his distorted little world, frantically trying to wash and dry his underpants and socks in the stove.

Director Crispian Mills makes everything look oddly distorted and nightmarish, from the squalid, smoky darkness of Jack's apartment to the bleak laundrette. It makes a nice illustration of how weird and crazy the world looks to Jack, and Pegg's narration keeps the story flowing.

However, it's also very uneven. The first two acts are almost like a one-man show; while a few people (his agent, some singing kids) pierce Jack's haze of delusion, he's mostly lurching around and monologuing in his own head. His quest is to get fresh socks and underwear, while avoiding being arrested. Simple, except for his crippling fear and awkwardness.

But in the last act, we suddenly switch to a more conventional narrative, with a villain and a love interest to interact with. It feels like we stepped into a different movie -- one that's still connected to the first by a few plot threads, but very different in style and theme.

Simon Pegg is the reason this movie works at all -- this is an uproariously funny actor who knows how to play his comedic roles straight. Jack is both pitiable and funny. You pity him because he's clearly messed-up and miserable, but Pegg manages to make him amusing with the constant onslaught of bad luck.

"A Fantastic Fear of Everything" has a weird lopsided structure that makes you feel like a different movie shoved itself into the last half. However, the pitch-black comedy and Simon Pegg mean that it's still fairly entertaining.
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on 15 February 2013
I should have taken heed of my inner voice that said "if it's a Simon Pegg film you've not really heard of then it's probably not that good"...but I stupidly ignored those voices and watched this. It basically revolves around an introspective writer who becomes more and more scared of going out/sleeping and due to a childhood trauma, launderettes. The real problem with the film is that we never really get to understand why he gets so scared - he's writing about Victorian killers and then seems to have an overactive imagination and becomes terrified. We don't get to empathise with him as to why he is different and starts sleeping with a carving knife. The main character isn't particularly sympathetic and doesn't really give Pegg a good outlet for his undoubted talents and the audience doesn't really identify with him. The story trundles along without that much of a plot and then ends without much drama or suspense.
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on 12 April 2013
I've seen Simon Pegg in Paul and Hot Fuzz, both of which are brilliant comedies. Whilst this outing isn't up there with them, it is relatively close. Basically, Pegg plays a children's writer who has decided to write a book about a serial killer, and has become paranoid from all the research he's done for his book. He hardly ventures out of his flat, carries/sleeps with a carving knife and believes that everyone is up to no good. He also has a fear of laundrettes, but for a specific reason which is later revealed. Like all his movies there is a considerable amount of swearing in it. The best moment for me, was after super gluing the window shut, Pegg's character found out he'd super glued the carving knife to his hand, leading to a complicated situation in the laundrette. It lasts about 1 hour and 30 minutes, and I can think of worse things to watch to fill in that time. It's just not one of his finest.
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on 7 July 2014
I think you need to see this in the right frame of mind. To put things in perspective, I like non-hollywood blockbusters. I like Withnail, Life of Brian, Sexy Beast, Amelie, League of Gentlemen (film and TV series) and slightly quirky stuff.

I rate Simon Pegg but I've been generally disappointed with his post spaced/early film efforts, but I think this film has the potential to be a cult film of the next decade. I can see how it could be considered slow, but if you are patient and in the right mood, I think you might just love it.

It's very very theatrical. It's basically a stage play but more energetic than a stage play. It's very 'Pegg"; very 'League of gentleman'. It' has something. I think, like all cult films, it has a certain charm and 'feel' that makes it fun to watch and, I suspect, re-watch.

It could be sh*t, It could be original. It's may be a bit of both - I think I loved it.

If you like theatrical indulgence, a tongue in cheek bit of fun and you want something to watch and enjoy on a few levels (although whether high brow or not I am probably not quite bright enough to judge) I'd say, keep it for a private viewing with a couple of malts or a splif (if that's your thing) and enjoy the 'spaced-like' / 'league of gentlemen' feel that pervades.

If I was Simon Pegg, I'd say I was as proud of this as Spaced. But I'm not. So I won't.

If you watch it and think it's sh*t, I could understand that too - but for me, I considered it worth writing a review. I generally don't do that.
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This is a directorial début for Crispian Mills and Chris Hopewell, and looks at the irrational fears people can often have. Simon Pegg plays Jack, a disturbed children's writer who's not really at ease with the world. He's got an agent, Clair (Clare Higgins - Hellraiser [1987], The Golden Compass [2007]) who's trying to get him to write a new novel. The only problem is, Jack's life is being over ran with problems; so how could he possibly write another book?

Why is he so disturbed? He's been researching Victorian killers for his book, now he feels he's going to be killed too!

This is an interesting film, Simon Pegg as funny as ever, and the supporting cast are brilliant too. This is probably the best British movie I have seen in quite some time, probably going back as far as Made In Dagenham. The scarier bits are more farcical than scary and the flat they used for Jack's place is funny too, and you can imagine this actually happening.

The star of the film had to be the doctor played by Paul Freeman, the amusing scene in his house is one of the funniest moments in the movie. I also enjoyed watching Amara Karan (Sangeta) as the woman trying to get her washing done - hopefully she'll be getting more roles after this.

Altogether not a bad movie, hopefully when this hits DVD it'll have a documentary, hopefully an interview with Simon Pegg and some out takes.
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on 15 December 2014
Jack (Simon Pegg) is a writer of children’s books who wants to be taken more seriously and so develops a proposed series on Victorian killers. Unfortunately his research is so thorough that he develops a neurosis that the world outside his door is populated by such psychopaths all of whom want to kill him. When his agent sets up a meeting with a party interested in his project Jack is compelled to escape the terrifying shadows of his apartment for the even more frightening realities of the launderette and other people.
The premise is good but obviously limited, especially when Jack ventures forth, but it is sustained by a clever back-story relating to his abandonment by his mother when only a young child. This also ties him in with an active serial killer of sorts and develops Jack into a more rounded character than a psychosis riddled man stuck in a depressing flat.
The humour is definitely black with a little slapstick thrown in for good measure. Jack’s descent into terror provides many opportunities for macabre humour and Simon Pegg is perfect for the role. He is ably assisted by Amara Karan as a surprise love interest, a woman who is intelligent, brave, and pretty; and also Alan Drake as Perkins.
It is an entertaining film, the kind that Hollywood generally does not make. In turns it manages to be humorous and yet also a little gritty, its’ reflections of life in launderettes and on streets at night give it an edge. It also has a surreal feel that is developed by the animated story that pulls everything together at the end.
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on 21 October 2014
This film undoubtedly has its problems. The plot is too thinly drawn and, resultantly, the run-time of an hour and thirty minutes is far too long to be entirely enjoyable. However, as an odd-ball comedy, I was rather taken by it. A key criticism I have noticed in other reviews is that Jack is not altogether relatable. This is true; no explanation is given as to why he has become so paranoid or obsessive. Yet I find this curious decision to be a merit, rather than an irritation. Not everything has to be handed to someone on a plate, and the audience is plunged directly into Jack's consciousness. Depending on how willing you are to invest in the film, you can either sit back and go along with the ride, or you can allow the lack of explanation to consume you.
Jack's narration was excellent: acerbic, funny, and delightfully strange. Crispian Mills had certainly taken to Robinson's style, and successfully managed to include it in Jack's inner-reason. On the other hand, much of the dialogue between the other characters was poor, treated as a necessity rather than a chance to take the comedy to its peak. I feel this disappointment was partially redeemed by the physical acting in the film: the odd looks, the faux-wooden movement and the bouts of slapstick. If you enjoy films or theatre with that underlying sense of unease, alienation and discomfort, then this will appeal to you. The setting of a launderette was inspired, as such places really do feel like no-man's-land.
Overall, I wish I could provide a better reason for why this film isn't excellent, despite my previously stated criticisms. There is something missing from it, and it's impossible to place a finger on why. The lack of plot may outrage some, but in a sense it added to the work's peculiar charm. However, while Jack cannot forget his fears, the audience will soon forget this film.
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on 17 May 2013
When you bump into Simon Pegg, you know the movie is going to be crazy and unpredictable. Get ready for a surreal trip around the unusual day of a somehow outsider who's goofily trying to find a point in his life.
And you'll be surprised by the diverse styles and genre this film manage to mix together, surprisingly swinging between nonsense and romance.
Don't miss it.
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