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Fantastic Fear of Everything, A


Stars: Simon Pegg, Amara Karan, Paul Freeman, Alan Drake, Clare Higgins, Henry Lloyd-Hughes, Kerry Shale

Director: Crispian Mills, Chris Hopewell

This is almost a solo vehicle for Pegg, as a children's author, Jack Nife (ho ho), whose change of direction to write a book on Victorian serial killers turns him into a quivering, paranoid wreck, fearful of every creaking door and banging window, certain that he himself is the target of some maniacal murderer.

His agent (Higgins, looking like the woman who plays the 'chaser' in TV's The Chase), tries to persuade him to keep it together, but finds him a gibbering heap under the table at their lunch-date restaurant.

It doesn't help that his flat is a disgusting tip, full of dirty dishes and equally dirty clothes, explained by Jack's morbid fear of laundrettes, although surely only a madman would put shirt, socks and underpants in his oven to dry them off.

If we say that there's a nosy neighbourhood community support cop called Tony Perkins (Drake) and that Jack, after gluing a knife to his hand, has discovered a mysterious cellar under the laundrette, you may see where all this is going. But there just isn't sufficient - if you'll pardon the expression - body here for a feature film; it's really a half-hour short pumped up with repetitive and only marginally funny scenes, and a stream of obscenities which even find their way into a rather cute animation segment at the end, as Jack regales a (real) serial killer with the tale of Brian, a hedgehog who goes over to his dark side.

It has its moments, true, but there's aren't enough of them to keep us chuckling happily, making this expanded anecdote one for Pegg completists only.

David Quinlan

UK 2011. UK Distributor: Universal. Colour by Bucks Film Labs.
99 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 3.

Review date: 04 Jun 2012