The joy of watching A Town Called Panic lies in its uncanny evocation of adolescent invention. It’s an overturned toy box of a movie, complete with mismatched action figures, improvisatory effects, and stream-of-consciousness storytelling. It invites you to plop down on the shag carpet, ignore your chores, and go giddy on sugar-assisted senselessness. This film from Belgian writer-director-animators Stephane Aubier and Vincent Patar isn’t perfect, but even its missteps seem expressions of compulsive experimentation and pure play.
Stop-motion animation at its most inelegant, A Town Called Panic is about a community of stiffly posed figurines adhering to a strange but presumed logic. Cowboy, Indian, and Horse (classic mid-20th-century icons, of the sloppily-painted and sold-in-bulk variety) reside in a house on a rolling countryside. Read the rest of Eric Hynes’s review of A Town Called Panic.