Posted April 17, 2012 by Timothy Monforton in Features

Trailer Trashin’: A Fantastic Fear of Everything Promises to Be Awesomely Bizarre

Hey, folks, it’s Tuesday. You know what that means. It’s time for your weekly installment of Trailer Trashin’! This week, I’m taking a look at the upcoming British dark comedy A Fantastic Fear of Everything.

Premise: Jack (Simon Pegg) is a children’s book author trying to make the switch to writing crime novels. But his deep research into gruesome murders of the Victorian era have turned him into an insomniac, fearful wreck of a man. And to make things worse, Jack finds himself on the run from an actual serial killer.

My take: I had not even heard of this movie before seeing the trailer. The main thing that initially drew my interest about the trailer and film was the star. Within the past decade, Simon Pegg has become one of my favorite actors – I loved him in Shaun of the Dead (2004) and Hot Fuzz (2007), and finding out that he was going to be in J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek (2009) was the first thing that got me really interested in that film. I’m interested in seeing Pegg’s work here, where’s he’s neither the lead of an Edgar Wright film nor just part of an ensemble. I was also very surprised to see Paul Freeman – who most people will know as Belloq from Raiders of the Lost Ark – as Jack’s therapist. But considering that the therapist is wearing a kids’ dress-up pirate hat and smoking a cigarette during the session, I’m not sure how conducive he can be to repairing Jack’s mental health. I don’t recognize anyone else in this trailer, but I am curious to see what the rest of the cast brings to the table.

Simon Pegg in “A Fantastic Fear of Everything.”

I also like a lot of what they’re showing of the weird, quirky elements of the film. I’ve heard some people compare what we see in the trailer to the work of Terry Gilliam, and I have to say the comparison is quite apt. The animated hedgehog character looks both sort of endearing and quite creepy, almost like the star of a hypothetical Sonic the Hedgehog video game designed by Tim Burton. The stop-motion used for the hedgehog character reminds me a lot of the animation from Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004) and Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009), because of the similar deliberately puppet-like, unrealistic look of the creature. Also, the hand-drawn-looking forest, which I assume represents Jack’s mindscape or something, has a beautiful storybook quality to it.

But as jazzed as I am by what I’m seeing, there’s still things I’m not so keen on. I’m sure they’ll make some kind of sense within the context of the film, but some of the images here, when used in the trailer, seem like they’re weird for the sake of being weird, especially the slow motion shot of the cops storming the launderette. I like things that are kind of out there and crazy, but it is possible to go too far. Also, I personally could have done without the gross dream/nightmare image of the eye looking out from inside the mouth. And the number of shots in the trailer of Simon Pegg screaming makes me worry that much of the film prior to the third act might largely consist of him being freaked out by various things. But I’m willing to give the filmmakers the benefit of the doubt that they’ll deliver a final film that fits all this weird imagery into a coherent story.

But the quibbles I have do not dampen my enthusiasm for this film. I’ve complained as much as anyone else about the lack of variety in movies today, so something this different is innately appealing to me. There are no plans yet for a US theatrical release, but I’m hoping we’ll hear something in a few months.

ANTICIPATION: Please release it over here. Please release it over here. Please release it over here.

Release Date: June 8th, 2012 in the UK, TBA in the US

Starring: Simon Pegg, Sheridan Smith, Clare Higgins, Amara Karan, and Paul Freeman
Directors: Crispian Mills and Chris Hopewell
Writer: Crispian Mills

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