I actually watched this movie a couple of months ago. I had to let it sit and percolate a little before reviewing it properly. Why has it taken so long from seeing the movie to reviewing it? Simply, I enjoyed it so much I just didn’t want to delve into the dynamics of what made the movie good, or bad, depending….
Simon Pegg stars “A crime novelist whose research on Victorian serial killers has turned him into a paranoid wreck must confront his worst fears when a film executive takes a sudden interest in his movie script.” This is the simple synopsis from the IMDB site for the movie. As with most movies Mr. Pegg does, the story really isn’t as simple as the synopsis.
In one evening he glues a window shut with a butcher knife in his hand. The butcher knife gets glued to his hand and causes no amount of trouble. Exactly how does one hide a butcher knife when it’s glued to your dominant, right hand? Not only does he have a knife problem, he looses most of his clothes in a “kitchen accident.” Note to self – do not try and dry clothes in a gas oven. You can get half your hair burned off and the other side of your head remain perfectly fine! However, this sort of accident will force you to go to a launderette in the middle of the night.
While all of this is going on for, Jack, Pegg’s character, there is a serial killer roaming about the city killing people and cutting off the fingers of the hand(s). Yeah, pretty gruesome, that.
The movie kept me laughing and smiling as the story unfolded. Jack’s “Fantastic Fear of Everything” began with all his research into serial killers and some of them I’ve actually done a bit of research on for some of my work; however, if all the serial killers are not myth or ploys for the movie, there was many of them for Victorian England!
Prior to his research into serial killers, Jack was a children’s author, but he never meant to be a published children’s writer. He wanted to be taken “seriously” as a writer and thus dove into research on a grittier topic. According to Jack, “Well, actually, writers and serial killers are very similar. They’re practically brothers.”
It is a little difficult to take Jack seriously as a writer instead of a terrified, neurotic man when he spends a good part of the beginning of the film roaming his flat in a bathrobe, tee-shirt, and his tidy whities. Surprisingly, though it works! It works because we see a wonderful character going through some of the things writers really do go through, and some only Jack can get into.
The movie is wonderful to escape into and laugh. At first, we laugh at Jack, but by the end of the movie we are laughing with him and seeing the bright sunshine all around. If I am not mistaken, it is still streaming on Netflix.