Once part of the psychopathic duo in Sightseers (Ben Wheatley, 2012), Steve Oram makes his directorial debut with the barmy concept that is AAAAAAAAH! Presented as “Romero and Juliet meets Planet of the Apes”, the bizarre narrative sees 80s queen Toyah Wilcox star along side Boosh boys Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt, with Green Wing’s Julian Rhind-Tutt.

Opening to a rainy woodland in South London, we meet our first batch of nameless characters played by comedy duo, (the film’s director and producer) Oram, and Fielding’s Luxury Comedy star, Tom Meeten. Though nothing is ever confirmed, we are left to assume that Oram’s character has left his previous life behind, having now literally pissed on a photo of a woman in a wedding dress we assume is his ex-wife. Along side his sidekick, the pair enter in to a new town to cause some havoc and with a close up shot of a penis forced upon us within the first five minutes, we know we’re in for an uneasy ride. The pair rock up at a household occupied by a grotesque dominate male (Rhind-Tutt), his unfortunate friend and two women (Lucy Honigman and Wilcox).

Character development, excellent cinematography, a strong plot and human dialogue are all things that AAAAAAAAH! lacks. The entire cast behave as primates – speaking in grunts and gibberish in a disturbing observation of the human condition. Whilst there is a basic structure, the majority of the narrative has to be assumed and it borderlines on the just plain weird. Grasping at straws, Oram is making a statement about our media (shown through his topless interruption of a Nigella Lawson inspired cookery program) and ultimately, man as a barbaric creature. His tag line being “We are not men”, he portrays man as a now TV obsessed, video-gaming slob resigned to eating junk food, sleeping and having sex. The animalistic dialogue is used a tool to enforce this metaphor yet this is where the film really suffers. Using only flashbacks to provide any form of depth to Barrat’s character, the film has little substance and relies heavily on shock value and ridiculousness.

An interesting observation of AAAAAAAAH! is the representation of women. Though a few squeaks come from the female roles in the film, they are ultimately voiceless. The male is dominant but still easily replaced if defeated by another, resourceful and stronger male. As such, the women must accept this and mate with the new dominant male. A possible reflection of how Oram perceives women’s rights perhaps? However, having been immersed in the senselessness that is Oram’s distopia, this message is lost in translation to the point where you wonder if it is stupidity for the sake of stupidity and lazy writing.

Dragging us slowly to a unsatisfying conclusion, all the characters are punished for their animal behaviour in what seems to be the only plot point in the whole film. Despite boasting a promising outcome through an impressive cast, AAAAAAAAH! is an unfortunate first film for Oram, and it’s so weird, it makes The Mighty Boosh look like Emmerdale. I can, however, understand the underlying depth and social commentary. I can’t help but think, however, that only Eraserhead, Luxury Comedy-lovers might just find some joy in it’s insanity.

Frightfest London review: Aaaaaaaah!
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Sophie is a film blogger from South London with a degree in Film Theory and Major Production. Sophie currently works in digital marketing but in her spare time you'll find her writing reviews or at the cinema. Sophie loves all things Star Wars and Hollywood but having specialized in the Horror genre, monsters are her first love. She'll watch absolutely anything given the chance - you can find her also on her blog, http://www.popcornandglitter.co.uk Twitter: https://twitter.com/sophieathawes