Anxiety Image


By Bobby LePire | June 13, 2024

Written and directed by Eric Stanze, from a story by Stanze and stars Jackie Kelly and Jason Christ, Anxiety aims to evoke the titular sensation. What little plot does exist here is just an excuse to create uneasiness in the viewer. Are the cast and crew successful, or will audiences be bored during the 97-minute runtime?

Renee (Kelly) is a freelance editor and recovering alcoholic. Unfortunately, the recent lockdowns due to COVID-19 have exacerbated her isolation; in the voice-over, Renee freely admits that this is odd since she willingly isolates herself for her work. Thanks to video chats, she is able to keep in contact with her sister, Abbey (Marcella Miller), and her best friend, Alan (Jason Christ). Alan creates silly day-in-the-life videos of what he and his partner do to keep Renee entertained. As the stay-at-home orders continue, Renee begins to feel the demonic itch of alcohol calling to her. Without giving anything away, that’s all there is story-wise.

“…Renee begins to feel the demonic itch of alcohol calling to her.”

Anxiety is an offbeat and original look at how the coronavirus affected so many people. By using a recovering addict as the lead, Stanze highlights how forced isolation made people feel even more disconnected than ever. He also gets across the agony that the lack of distractions causes, as all that’s left is the temptation. As such, much of the impressive, sometimes (intentionally) ugly visuals are meant to be metaphorical to explain how Renee is feeling, as the why is more or less self-evident.

Unfortunately, the final few minutes take that metaphor and treat it realistically. No spoilers, but it is an odd choice, especially given what new character Connie (also Jackie Kelly) says and does. This choice muffles the overall theme of the finished product. On the positive side, the characters are great. Renee is easy to empathize with, and Alan is a breath of fresh air.

Anxiety is an interesting tale about how loneliness messes with people and brings out the demons they’ve tried so hard to suppress. Kelly is excellent as the well-meaning but tortured lead. Christ is hilarious and sweet. While the ending is confusing because the filmmakers want their metaphorical cake and to really eat it, the strong visuals and characterizations more than make up for that.

For more information, visit the official Anxiety site.

Anxiety (2024)

Directed and Written: Eric Stanze

Starring: Jackie Kelly, Jason Christ, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

Anxiety Image

"…strong visuals and characterizations..."

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