Film Review: Aaaaaaaah!


One thing is certain. You won’t see another film like Aaaaaaaah! this year. Or, probably, any year. And not just because Steve Oram’s directorial debut has no dialogue except for ape-like grunts, but also because it features Toyah Willcox having a shit in a kitchen and Noel Fielding getting his knob gobbled in a seedy cameo.

These are just two of the highlights of a film that really is unique. Even though some of the influences are pretty obvious – arty European films for the 1970s and Kubrick’s work in particular – Oram marches defiantly to his own beat.

The action follows Oram and his sidekick, played by regular collaborator Tom Meeten, as they ‘invade’ a different south London tribe, stealing the women and duffing up the men. Among the people that crop up along the way are the aforementioned Willcox and Julian Rhind-Tutt. Julian Barratt plays a patriarchial figure who, we learn in flashbacks, has been previously banished and thus spends a lot of his time wandering naked and sad around a forest.

Despite the lack of dialogue the narrative is relatively easy to follow. The characters fight and fuck but also have their tender moments of humanity. It’s a weird kind of recognisable parallel world, as if humans have evolved in some ways but not others. They have washing machines and TVs but no manners. Imagine Planet of the Apes directed by Mike Leigh.

Oram previously co-wrote and co-starred in Ben Wheatley’s serial killer-meets-road movie cult hit Sightseers. That was a film with a nasty streak but Aaaaaaaah! is, in its own way, far more violent, really revelling in the brutality that normal mankind is capable of.

Aaaaaaaah! is also funny of course, with Prince Harry being the butt of one deliciously crude pay-off. The humour is often dark and unexpected, yet very much rooted in the plot. If the film is weird look out too for Alice Lowe and Tony Paul Way in the even weirder sitcom-within-the-film that the characters enjoy watching on TV when not trashing their flats. I'd like to see more of that. As for the rest of Aaaaaaaah! Richard Curtis it ain't.

Aaaaaaaah! is available online from Oct 19. Details here.


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