If The Shining taught us one thing, it's that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. In the atmospheric thriller Fear Me Not, the other side of that equation is unnervingly laid out: all play and no work yields the same result.

Mikael Neumann (Ulrich Thomsen) has been on leave from his job for six weeks when the film begins, a fact he reports to us in the somber-voiced narration that represents his diary. What sort of work he did, and why he went on leave, we don't know. Whatever it was, he has done well for himself. He and his architect wife, Sigrid (Paprika Steen), and teenage daughter, Selma (Emma Sehstede Hoeg), live in a gorgeous modern home on a picturesque lake.

Like many in his situation, Mikael has had a hard time adjusting to not working: the unstructured days, the lack of purpose. Sigrid is hinting that maybe it's time to go back to the office, a suggestion he disregards. Then, seemingly on a whim, Mikael volunteers for a clinical trial of a new anti-depression medication being run by Sigrid's doctor brother, Frederik (Lars Brygmann). He doesn't particularly suffer from depression, he says, but "you can always be better."

Like a 21st-century mad scientist, Mikael reports the effects of this medication to his diary and to us. He describes his feelings mostly with matter-of-fact dryness, occasionally lapsing into near-poetic accounts of his newfound joie de vivre. He is energized by two things: his apparently long-simmering resentment of Sigrid's control over his life, and his new realization that he can do something to change it. I won't go into detail about the pills' other effects on him except to say that his behavior becomes unstable -- but, creepily enough, he always remains controlled and apparently cautious.