Review: There's much to dread in 'A Fantastic Fear of Everything'

We could start with why a hermit-like London writer, steeped in research about Victorian-era killers and afraid of being murdered himself, would keep his ratty flat in near total darkness.

But the dreary, loud, amateurish horror-comedy “A Fantastic Fear of Everything” starring Simon Pegg as said author, isn’t terribly interested in logic. Or continuity. Or filmmaking acumen. Or, most glaringly, laughs.

Writer/director Crispian Mills, a rock musician making his feature directing debut, starts with an interminable set-up in which a bushy-haired Pegg -- in bathrobe and briefs and evincing a sort of reverse charm from his engaging turns in pal Edgar Wright’s movies (“Shaun of the Dead,” “The World’s End”) -- freaks out alone while never letting go of a carving knife. That’s followed by a head-scratchingly unfunny sequence in which he faces his deep distress about washing his clothes at the local launderette (where a few queasy racial stereotypes await).

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By the time the third act tries to tie everything together with a (not so surprising) serial killer, flashes of stop-motion animation, and a message about overcoming childhood anxiety, one wonders if the moviegoing trauma of seeing “A Fantastic Fear of Everything” can easily be erased.


“A Fantastic Fear of Everything”

MPAA rating: R for language

Running time: 1 hour, 40 minutes

Playing: at the Laemmle Noho 7


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