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  • Having "discovered" Alain Chabat only a couple of days ago I didn't know if I would like this film, despite all the other good comments it got. This is because I don't speak French. I watched the French version with English subtitles, because it wasn't available with German ones. And I can deeply assure everyone who thinks about seeing this piece of art: Do it! It's hilarious, wild, crazy and above all French! After only five minutes into the film I had tears of laughter running down my cheek. I think nobody will fail to notice the huge amount of jokes in this film, if you know any French or not. Most of the comedy is of physical nature, there are of course some puns but never mind. Just go and see it. Or better buy it instantly as you will want to see it over and over again! I promise!
  • This is "Les Nuls"'s first movie and if it isn't a masterpiece, it's an enjoyable comedy. Odile Deray is the press attaché for the film "Red Is Dead" but the film is so dumb that reporters don't want to promote it. However, the projectionist is killed and due to this it creates a great publicity around the movie and meanwhile murders go on. Then Deray is asking a cop (Serge Karamasov) to protect not only the projectionists but also the main star of the film: Simon Jérémi.... Alain Berbérian and "Les Nuls" have made a funny film which is full of clever visuals and ringing brainwaves; the best example is the murder of the fourth projectionist when "Les Nuls" are adding the sound effects to the scene themselves! Moreover, the comic of the film is very fanciful and there are some useless elements but it's because they are useless that they are funny. For example, we learn Patrick Bialès's whole life (the main inspector of Cannes) but it brings nothing to the plot! The screenplay, in spite of several weaknesses, is inspired and full of numerous details and sentences that score the bull's eye.

    The movie is well made thanks to its actors too and I am under the impression that they, voluntarily, don't take themselves seriously , especially Gérard Darmon who is irresistible in his first appearance when he answers the reporters in several languages! Even famous French actors have got a small role (Tcheky Karyo, Daniel Gélin, Jean-Pierre Bacri and Eddy Mitchell are in the projectionists' roles)! At last the film is obviously a parody of horror and detective films. I think about "Psycho" when the projectionists are killed. To sum up: a fanciful but efficient comedy and if you watch it for the first time, you might be disappointed. You have to watch it several times to appreciate it. It happened with me.
  • rizthon22 August 2009
    This for sure is my favorite movie. What I really love is that there are jokes, puns, movie references & all almost all the time, and that, unlike in a lot of big production movies, can easily go by unnoticed. That's why even if I've seen this movie tons of times, I still can find some new ones. That's also why some people say you should watch it several times to really find it funny. Actually the best thing to do is to watch it with the remote in your hand, to be able to pause at any time to read all the stupid things that have been hidden.

    I don't know about the translation, but I bet watching it in any other language than French must ruin quite a lot of puns. Also I don't know whether all the stuffs written in the different scenes are also translated.

    I know a lot of people who just like me have watched that movie over and over and know most of the script by heart, and would from time to time repeat some of it in real life. You can also find tons of references of the movie all over the Internet, in blogs and comments.

    On the other hand, I know of people who just find that movie quite poor, without any interest, and I can understand them. The jokes are quite often stupid like "(showing a picture) Is this your husband?" "No it's my dog." "Oh yeah, of course...Talk to me about him." "He was a really nice dog..." "No, about your husband". Of course it's stupid to ask whether the dog is her husband, and of course it's stupid to tell about the dog. So some people will definitely find this movie stupid, but others, like me, will like it. Just a note about the jokes: they may be stupid, but unlike in some movies, they are not gross.

    So eventually, if you're French or have a really good French level, and feel like the previous joke can indeed be funny, you definitely have to watch that movie. If you find it lame, don't. As for if you don't speak French but still find that joke funny, well, just keep in mind the movie won't be as funny as it should be, but it should still be quite funny.
  • La cité de la peur is a really funny movie. It's funny because of the good acting, the solid script. The scenario itself is a joke. I'm writing this comment in English but could have done it in French, since many gags must be impossible to translate, so you definitely should understand French. This movie shows the particular sense of humour of "Les Nuls", a group of humorists, which I do like. To my mind, it's the best French comedy since "Le père Noël est une ordure", which will make you laugh from start to end.
  • Castor-2023 February 1999
    There's nothing more to say... This film is the same level as the Monthy Pythons with scenes that make you cry from laughing (even if you see it 20 times). There's no better way to spend an afternoon with your friends!
  • There is a joke every 5 seconds, this is one of the best comedy I'have ever seen. Even thinking at this movie make me laugh. I have seen it 5 times and i still enjoy seeing it. If you can see this movie, see it.

    my rating : 10
  • "Les Nuls" (actors and writers in this movie) started in a TV show (a kind of the "Saturday Night Live" on french TV Canal+) and have decided to end their TV adventure by making a film. "La Cité de la peur" can be seen if one doesn't know their TV shows: it's terrific, very funny. But there are too some personal references which develop the comic of the situations. In summary, everybody loves this film: a cult film that I have seen a lot of times. I think that I will watch it during all my life!!
  • Remis4 November 1999
    In this movie that i saw at least a hundred times, you just laugh every 5 seconds !! This kind of humour is really great, actors are so funny and so good... For somebody who wants to know how french humour is, go see it, you won't be disappointed :+)
  • It is really a fresh and original comedy. I have seen it again and again. To spend 1h30 laughing look at this!!! If you don't like it i allow you to beat me!! bye
  • Kassdhal21 February 2007
    What ca we say... Les Nuls, Chabat, Faruggia, Lauby, plus Darmon and the beautiful De Fougerolles.

    One of the most laughable film ever made in my opinion. It shows in itself half of the whole French Humour with thousands and jokes and laughable references.

    I have sen him in theatre, then in TV at each of its subsequent broadcast, purchased the DVD and overall watched it literally hundreds of times.

    A cultural masterpiece! The true end to the too short stories of Les Nuls.
  • soliwan30 January 2020
    Always the same thing : you are receptive to this kind of humor, or not... and I loved it the first time I watched it. Instead of watching anything from "The Splendid" band ("Les Bronzés 3" is really bad), just try this movie : old but still funny, "Les Nuls" in their best performance (and the last, I suppose). I my opinion, don't try to compare it to The Monty Pythons, because it's never intentionally smart and serious. Their touch is just different. Cult sentences still in memories, this underestimated movie should never be forgotten.
  • Well I have the honor to be the first one to rate this the lowest possible. I was going to rate it with two stars but because there are not much reviews for this movie and they are all super positive it clearly falsify the real score it should get. So the lowest possible for me to try to bring the unjustified high score down. About the movie, which features the comedians from the group "Les Nuls", which by the way means The Zeros in French or also referring as very lousy jokes, you have to be a fan of their humor to really like it. It's absurd stupid humor. I think they are inspired by The Monty Python, that are famous for their ridiculous British humor. But the big difference between Les Nuls and The Monty Python is that The Monty Python are geniuses while Les Nuls are just trying to be funny. I don't think I laughed once during the entire movie while with any of The Monty Pyton movies I can't stop laughing. If you really want to watch a funny French comedy than just watch anything from the comedian group "Le Splendid". Just look it up and watch those movies instead because those ones are actually funny.
  • What can you say about a film featuring a serial killer wearing a boiler suit, safety goggles and armed with a hammer and a sickle? Well, either it's an anti-Communist propaganda film or one that shouldn't be taken too seriously… or it better be a comedy. "City of Fear", the movie of the famous group of comedians who called themselves "Les Nuls" (in English, the "Nobodies") and directed by Alain Berberian is not just a great comedy whose story shouldn't be taken seriously, it's a comedy that takes seriously its mission of making us laugh and it's centered on a movie that actually takes itself seriously… and make us laugh as well. Talk about 'mise en abime'.

    The film within the film is a lousy horror Z-movie titled "Red is Dead" (an obvious wink to "Evil Dead") a movie so bad a critic doesn't even want to waste his time reviewing it, and tells the director Odile Deray (Chantal Lauby) to go to hell. And she deserves it, the film is so bad it's unwatchable, but it's also so bad it's a laugh riot, and can even be considered one of the film's highlights. All the archetypes of cheap slasher films are there, from the chain-killing of the friends, the false alerts, the chase, the death, and the ending… with an interrogation mark. This opening is like the first cartoon in "Who Framed Roger Rabbit", it wins us, as we're excited to see what's coming next and it sets the tone of the film, it's about the world of cinema. Even the victims of the killer who looks like "Red" from the film are the projectors of the film. This is not just "Les Nuls"' film, it's a film's film.

    I guess there was something about Cinema and TV in the middle of the 90's, a sort of symbiosis that no one would have thought possible but that efficiently translated into the big screen… at least, on the field of comedy. Basically, in French TV comedy, you had two teams, two branches of humor : "The Unknowns" (Les Inconnus) who came from theater and specialized in satire. Their 1995 "The Three Brothers" was the highest grossing movie. But they were preceded by their eternal rivals, "Les Nuls" who were raised by TV and were closer in tone to the Monty Python and SNL humor. Their most famous acts were parodies of commercials and TV news, and I can't resist to reveal my two favorite jokes. I'll Americanize the first: "Madonna said "I have a foot in New York and another in L.A… we pity Kansas City" or Chabat telling his co-anchor "Penelope, is that a tampon on your ear" her answers is "Oh. Where the hell did I put my pen?"

    This humor was often branded as "Canal +" spirit, the young and free-spirited channel (it wouldn't last), created in 1984, launched the career of many famous French comedians "The Nuls" were the first and most emblematic. There were Alain Chabat, Chantal Lauby, Dominique Farrugia and Bruno Carrete, the only one who doesn't star in the film as he passed away 5 years before of a devastating virus caught in some trip in Egypt. His friends paid tribute to Carrete by inserting some footage in a news report. Out of the remaining trio, Alain Chabat would live the most successful career, that would pinnacle 8 years later, by directing "Asterix: Mission Cleopatra", the second highest grossing movie at the time. And it says a lot that Chabat directed Asterix and made a big hit out of it.

    Indeed, even if 95% of the movies parodied in "City of Fear" are from the other side of the Atlantic, "Evil Dead", "Basic Instinct" or "Terminator", Chabat's main influence was the master of comic-book writing: René Goscinny, creator of Asterix and Lucky Luke and whose trademark was a form of parody humor with no holds barred for the sake of laughs, a very fun, lighthearted and not too controversial humor. Goscinny's specialty was characters who were both marvelously stupid and touching. In "City of Fear", the film's star is Simon Jeremi, a guy who throws up whenever he's happy, he's like a mix of Averell Dalton and Rin Tin Can with a little touch from Alain Chabat. The film is very American-like but the comedic treatment of the story is much European. And this is why the film aged better than serious French films trying to look American.

    So, let's get to the story. Projectionists die whenever they project "Red is Dead", they're played by iconic character actor Tcheky Cario, classic legend Daniel Gelin, a pal, Jean-Pierre Bacri and former rocker-turned-actor Eddy Mitchell. To lead the investigation, there's an elegant charming police detective played with cool seriousness by Gérard Darmon. And there's Chabat as the bodyguard hired by Odile to protect Jeremi. And with that crazy joyful bunch, you just have one of the highest ratio of gags from any French film. It doesn't necessarily make it the funniest, but at least, it's the most consistent, and it never gets too shy on pushing a gag further and further. When, at the hotel, Jeremi declares he wants to eat pig's gums, it's funny already, but then Serge asks for a restaurant that serves pig's gum, and get an answer, Martinez, the best pig's gum in the city.

    There are bits of humor that would have made the Zucker Abrahams brothers and the Simpsons writers extremely proud, and what is so impressive is that the film, in that midst of hilarious gags, finds the time to tell us a story, with a beginning, an end, a climax and a resolution, and a fine musical number between Chabat and Darmon, that might give you a foretaste if you want to check on Youtube. It's called "La Carioca".

    As for "City of Fear", fear not to watch it, as it's first class A comedy made-in-France.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    A female publicist has the unenviable task of promoting a cheap horror movie, which is bad beyond description. However, a series of grisly murders committed by a madman brandishing a hammer and a sickle turns the movie into a surprise hit. The Cannes movie festival has never been able to resist a good scandal...

    Part farce and part satire, "La cité de la peur" is somewhat similar in tone and subject to the third movie in the "Naked gun" series, which skewers the Oscars ceremony. It's a very uneven work, which could have used a great deal of artistic self-criticism and insight. Basically, the makers of the movie throw everything at the wall in hopes that it will stick : some of the material sticks, a lot of it doesn't. For instance, there's a rather vulgar running joke about a man who vomits whenever he's feeling happy ; it lowers the tone and adds absolutely zero in terms of fun.

    However, there are also wonderfully silly or absurd jokes and lines of dialogue to savour. Much of the satire is doused in finest dragon acid, especially when it comes to attacking the Cannes festival. The viewer will note that much of the defects being mocked are still hugely relevant anno 2019 : the critical capriciousness, the fashionable hype, the unending red carpet parade of parasites and wannabes, the lack of respect for human sorrow. (In the movie, the police, relatives and celebrities meet and mingle amidst streams of alcohol, during a glamorous "Murder Party".)

    Movie buffs will recognize many a wink at various genres and works, such as the "Terminator" franchise. ("Is this Sarah Connor ?" "No, that's next door.") Also easily recognizable : "So I'm eating sauerkraut with sausages. What are you going to do about it, arrest me ?".
  • writers_reign7 January 2014
    Warning: Spoilers
    During the last forty years France has seen at least three comedy ensembles graduate from boulevard theatre or television to the big screen and if Splendid has the best track record in terms of both ensemble films - le pere noel est un ordure, les bronzes - etc plus individual actors - Thierry Thermitte, Josiane Balasko, Gerard Jugnot, michel blanc, ann-marie chazal, actor/writer/director - Balasko, Blanc, Jugnot, this is not to say that the likes of Les Nuls (Alain Chabat) and Les Robins des bois (Marina Fois, Jean-Paul Rouve) were chopped liver. City of Fear marked the big-screen debut of Les Nuls and it turned out to be an auspicious debut in every way. It is, of course, very French so that many of the verbal gags will be lost on non-French speakers who rely on subtitles but against that there are lots of sight gags which are, of course, International. Time will tell if it holds up as well as, say, Le Pere Noel but it certainly works the first time around.