It’s safe to assume that you’ll have never seen anything quite like Steve Oram’s directorial debut Aaaaaaaah! before. As the title may allude to, this innovative, experimental feature marks a new voice in British cinema, and irrespective of whether you enjoy this feature or not (there’s a very strong chance you may not) – it’s still of great commendation to Oram that he’s created something so unorthodox and avant-garde amidst a cinematic landscape palpably devoid of originality.
Loose on narrative structure – and normality – Oram is one of several characters who wanders the streets with his accomplice, played by Tom Meeten, communicating only in grunts and monkey noises. There is no dialogue within this feature, which also boasts the likes of Julian Barratt – who plays a homeless man with a fondness for nudity. There’s also a mini Mighty Boosh reunion, in that Noel Fielding plays a shop assistant, while the crux of the story takes place in the humble abode of characters belonging to Julian Rhind-Tutt, Toyah Wilcox and Lucy Honigman.
Oram – who also wrote the screenplay – plays on our intrinsic, animalistic traits, taking our every day actions and simplifying them. Whether it’s cooking, eating, having sex, arguing, fighting – it all appears to basic, so ingrained, part of our fabric and what makes us animals. Even playing video games comes across as being so carnal and fundamental. The novelty does wear thin after a while it has to be said, but thankfully Oram is evidently aware of that fact, cutting this feature short at the 70 minute mark, which is for the best – for everyone involved.
That’s because the actors are really put through the paces, and while they undoubtedly had an incredible amount of fun, it’s unlikely going to be a film they’ll be wanting to watch back in a hurry, and especially not with their nearest and dearest. With several brave performances on show, Oram has certainly asked a lot of his crew. Particularly Toyah Wilcox, who can be seen defecating on the kitchen floor. Seriously.
Aaaaaaaah! is a film that you’ll either love, or hate – or in this writer’s case, feel completely unsure, and yet still maintain a distinct sense of admiration for those involved. But here’s a film that is worth giving a go, just to find out. The only thing missing, is a deadpan David Attenborough narration playing over the top. That would’ve given this an extra star, or two.