Did a disease wipe out our collective consciousness and set us back eons on the evolutionary scale? Did we ever really develop as a species beyond a simian mentality? Are a group of people in the suburbs just acting really, really weird?
None of that is very clear in Steve Oram’s directorial debut Aaaaaaaah! about a group of people, in one sense, who go about doing regular people day to day things, while communicating through grunts, loud noises and in every way as if they were apes.
There are some things about Aaaaaaaah!’s premise that are inherently funny, like the ape-humans getting angry at the TV or having very people-like bouts to out-man each other. The indecorous additions to the film otherwise featured are not nearly graphic as they are discomposing – you have been warned.
Beyond a gross-out fest as the angry primates cavort, meander and go about their regular lives, interrupted only by moments of extreme and sudden violence, there is a lot that Aaaaaaaah! is clearly trying to say about the human condition, albeit not as delicately as Charlton Heston and crew did decades ago.
Interacting speechlessly, bluntly and through the occasional roar – so much of what is going on between the characters is evident, interestingly, not through dialogue but by virtue of their actions and movement. A treat for fans of pantomime, which many silent film directors proved could tell a story just as well if not better than needless exposition, Aaaaaaaah! goes for the jugular of typical sensibilities that Shaun of the Dead pursued years before, in the process packing material much more shocking than Edgar Wright’s classic.
Aaaaaaaah! will also delight fans of classic series The Mighty Boosh, with co-stars and comedians Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt among the cast. The Director, who also featured in Wright’s more recent The World’s End, along with its comedic talents are the best thing Aaaaaaaah! has going for it. Never taking the material too seriously and playing even the most egregious moments for all their comedy value, Aaaaaaaah! never lets the slightly more cerebral points the film’s trying to make get in the way of the action, making for a compelling, if utterly gross, night at the movies.
Aaaaaaaah! is screening as part of the Sydney Underground Film Festival – for tickets head to the Festival website