Like a mucked up ultra-violent nature documentary Aaaaaaaah! takes us to a parallel world populated by humans who have devolved into apes complete with their own community, social structure, sit-coms and language of grunts and noises.
The writer and director of this crazy and original idea Steve Oram plays Alpha Male Smith who emerging from the woods after a bad break up with his ex, which he deals with by urinating over a framed picture of her, heads to the nearest town with his Beta Keith (Tom Meeten) for some much needed distraction.
Crashing a party held by the aggressive and cruel Ryan (Julian Rhind-Tutt) in the home he rules over with his unhappy family unit comprising of Barbara (an amazing turn from Toyah Willcox) and her restless daughter Denise (Lucy Honigman) the new comers snatch Ryan’s mate away whisking her off to an exciting new life in a neighboring house.
Awaking from his drunken stupor to find his place trashed, his authority disrespected, his face defaced and his mate gone Ryan vows revenge issuing forth a bloody and brutal battle where arms are ripped out of their sockets and male members bitten off as two Alphas fight for superiority over the distraught Denise.
Having made a name as an actor most notably in Ben Wheatley’s brilliant black comedy Sightseers Steve Oram’s Aaaaaaaah! is a barmy bold and brave directorial debut devoid as it is of any words with the characters communicating only in grunts and gestures.
Although a defiantly challenging film at first what’s surprising is how much the viewer instantly understands of the story and characters through both the actors emotive characterization and the shared experiences of love and loss that any human being can identify with even when it’s portrayed by a ginger bearded man in a shirt and chinos acting like a giant gorilla.
Filmed in a real and recognizable mundane urban setting full of grey streets, gloomy buildings and drab corner shops Oram has created a whole world for his crazy humanoid ape characters with its own art and culture including computer games and TV programs featuring a cookery show presented by a topless Nigella-alike microwaving mases of disgusting looking meat covered in salt.
By making the world around the characters disturbingly familiar it is easier both to identify with their plight and motivations while also seeing a mirror to our own fragile humanity and civilized civilization which keeps hold on our more primal drives at times with the thinnest of threads.
The cast which includes many comedy actors such as Julian Barratt and Noel Fielding are all excellent throwing themselves into the physicality and bringing to life these surreal hybrids far better than any CGI could in the recent Planet of the Apes movies.
A cinematic oddity at times hilarious and anarchic at others moving and touching Aaaaaaaah! is an insanely inventive and radical British movie that pushes the viewer headfirst into a nightmarish simian set up of our everyday lives forcing us to face and embrace our own inner ape.
Read Steve Oram’s interview right HERE