Newest Reviews
American Fiction
Poor Things
Legend of the Bat
Party Line
Night Fright
Pacha, Le
Assemble Insert
Venus Tear Diamond, The
Beauty's Evil Roses, The
Free Guy
Huck and Tom's Mississippi Adventure
Rejuvenator, The
Who Fears the Devil?
Guignolo, Le
Batman, The
Land of Many Perfumes
Cat vs. Rat
Tom & Jerry: The Movie
Naked Violence
Joyeuses Pacques
Strangeness, The
How I Became a Superhero
Golden Nun
Incident at Phantom Hill
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City
Maigret Sets a Trap
Hell's Wind Staff, The
Topo Gigio and the Missile War
Battant, Le
Penguin Highway
Cazadore de Demonios
Imperial Swordsman
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
  Town Called Panic, A Home Improvement
Year: 2009
Director: Stéphane Aubier, Vincent Patar
Stars: Stephane Aubier, Jeanne Balibar, Nicolas Buysse, Véronique Dumont, Bruce Ellison, Christine Grulois, Frédéric Jannin, Bouli Lanners, Christelle Mahy, Eric Muller, Vincent Patar, Franco Piscopo, Benoît Poelvoorde, Alexandre von Sivers
Genre: Comedy, Animated, Weirdo, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: The postman has been delivering the letters and parcels around the village, but when he gets to the house of Horse (voiced by Vincent Patar), Cowboy (Stéphane Aubier) and Indian (Bruce Ellison), he has to wait after ringing the doorbell because they're not ready to get up. They do leap into action, however, and jump into the shower while Horse rushes downstairs to answer the door, where there is a letter for him. It's a birthday card, which prompts his two friends into an awful realisation: they haven't bought him a present, they've totally forgotten about the occasion. Then they have a brain wave: how about getting Horse a barbecue?

Well, it sounds like a simple idea, but as you will notice after five minutes of this lunacy, nothing is ever simple in this place, not with Cowboy and Indian there to lead their noble plans into outright catastrophe. Yet you never feel as if anything that happens here, no matter how apparently irreversible, is too serious thanks to a wildly irreverent tone throughout. This was based on the animated series Panique au Village, a creation of Belgian animators Aubier and Patar, who provide a few of the voices, and was a selection of shorts revolving around the madcap adventures of three toy figures of the type that probably more belonged to yesteryear.

So it was refreshing to see such figures reclaimed for comedy purposes, although anyone expecting a Western may well be let down, as apart from a few gunshots and arrows fired, the main trio do not live up to their conventional personality types. As they were arranged here, Horse was more the sensible, parental figure - although that was relatively speaking - with Cowboy and Indian the unruly children, and the way they all lived together in one house was more to do with the surreal situation than any comment on harmonious existence. As for that story, its skipped and flitted from one bizarre incident to the next, barely pausing for breath.

What sets all this in motion is not so much Horse's birthday, but the attempts by his pals to provide a present going haywire after they go on the internet to order fifty bricks for building the barebcue and end up with fifty million of the things when Cowboy accidentally hits the wrong key. They have an inkling that something has gone wrong when a legion of trucks show up at their door and deliver what they've unintentionally asked for, but they have a solution: pile up all the unwanted bricks on top of the roof, because there's no way that could possibly go wrong, could it? But avoidable disasters are what spark these events, and soon their home is destroyed thanks to the weight.

Some in non-French-speaking territories were wont to criticise the producers of this for not providing a dubbed into English version more accessible to children, and it's true that some of the potential audience would have been lost thanks to five year olds not being able to keep up with the subtitles. On the other hand, hearing the original voice work is very funny, due to it being just as nutty as the visuals, so even if you don't know the language older viewers may well have appreciated simply enjoying the sound of the actors yelling, squeaking and rumbling. As the plot draws on, if there's any problem at all it's that even at just over an hour it's so incredibly inventive that you may find a fatigue setting in as wall rustlers and a mechanical snowball-throwing penguin enter into the fray, not to mention Horse's pressing need to take piano lessons, but for all its exhausting qualities, A Town Called Panic was genuinely hilarious in its deeply silly fashion.

[Optimum's DVD has a trailer and an interview with the (very serious-looking) directors as extras.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 3014 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Enoch Sneed
  Louise Hackett
Darren Jones
Mark Le Surf-hall
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M


Last Updated: