AAAAAAAAH!

0.25 out of 10

Release Date: 18th January 2016 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Steve Oram

Cast: Julian Barratt, Lucy Honigman, Steve Oram, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Toyah Willcox, Tom Meeten, Sean Reynard, Holli Dempsey, Shelley Longworth, Waen Shephard, Tony Way with Alice Lowe and Noel Fielding

Writer: Steve Oram

Trailer: Aaaaaaaah!

AAAAAAAAH

Granted, you could argue that films aren’t made to entertain all the time. They’re also here to educate on occassion too. If they don’t serve either of these ends then why do they exist?

Aaaaaaaah! is a one-minute short-film that’s been expanded into a very, very ugly film possibly sent by it’s makers to polarise us into brave and forward thinking viewers and narrow, unimaginative ones. The tale of a society in which we all live as apes may have looked like a decent idea after 20 pints down The Ivy, but it shouldn’t have made it past the writer’s hangover. Only actors would think it’s a good idea to follow a fellow actor up his own arsehole to make something so at odds with what will fly with the film-loving public. This film is the product of an angry and screwed up man as he squanders what good will he’d earnt from his decent body of film and TV appearances. Take a bow Steve Oram (SIGHTSEERS).

The cast is a love-in of regulars from a certain ‘school’ of TV comedy – so we have Noel Fielding (THE MIGHTY BOOSH), Julian Barratt (A FIELD IN ENGLAND), Tom Meeten (WEEKENDER), Alice Lowe (SIGHTSEERS) acting as apes – defecating, eating testicles, causing violent mayhem, fucking and pissing everywhere, alongside a re-appearance of Toyah Willcox (QUADROPHENIA) in her first film in decades.  At one point I wondered if it had been inspired by Lars Von Trier’s The Idiots or the recent The Lobster, but then I stopped wondering about nothing at all.

There’s no appeal here, I wonder who could recommend this except for the ponciest, sheltered living hipster, and maybe that’s their aim. I made it through the first 20 minutes at normal speed then I watched it with the fast forward button on to +2. I recommend all those that have rented this by accident to do the same. You won’t miss anything and it makes it at most, half as long. I wasn’t offended by the film, nor did I feel ‘above it all’, I just felt bored, baffled and throughly grossed out.

0.25 out of 10 – Possibly the worst comedy / film experiment I’ve ever seen. Watch it sped up, you won’t miss anything and that would piss the filmmakers off no end.

Review by Maaaaaaaaah!tt Usher down below!

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

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One thought on “AAAAAAAAH!

  1. A primal scream of a review from Maaaaaaaaaaaaahhhh!tt Usher!

    There are two ways to look at this: I can either dismiss it as some tediously over-extended student project gone horribly wrong, or accept it as being a sincere attempt at doing … something. Perhaps it’s best to start by taking it seriously, and then dismiss it completely as juvenile tripe.

    Steve Oram writes (though the script consists purely of grunts, groans, screams, screeches and other forms of non-verbal vocal communication), directs, produces, edits, provides some music (I liked the music) and takes the lead role of an alpha male human ape (who just happens to commit most of the violence and get most of the sex). Mr Oram has described how he was inspired by a documentary which showed a band of gorillas invading the territory of some other gorillas, displacing the males, raping the females, who then became loyal to the invaders. Oram decided to replicate the story in the human world. Maybe it would have been better if he’d just used his social media presence to like and link the documentary so we could watch that instead.

    Oram gives us a story filmed with a hand-held roughness reminiscent of the Monty Python films. It opens with him urinating on a photograph of (presumably) his ex, while a close friend helps him with his hygienic requirements. Meanwhile a family goes about its daily business: cooking, watching TV, going to the shop and having a party. Oram and his pal arrive and take over. And there’s another bloke who’s been chucked out and is sleeping in the garden and looks sad, but he will have vengeance. Maybe. Imagine Ayckbourn without the dialogue, plotting or social commentary.

    The film is set in a non-descript suburbia, mostly in a nice enough house, albeit one without a lavatory judging by the appalling lack of sanitary care taken by the residents. It’s unclear how they pay for it, but things like internal coherence are best ignored. I guess Oram’s trying to say something along the lines of ‘we’re no better than apes’ or possibly, more controversially, ‘apes are no better than us’, neither of which are particularly penetrating insights (Charlton Heston found all this out decades ago). But how come there are shops? If it’s OK to defecate on the floor then why bother cleaning it up? How can someone take delivery of a TV? If we’ve all reverted to primacy, why is shoplifting a crime?

    This might have been an intriguing film if they’d used the chimps from the PG
    Tips ads. But nowadays it’s regarded as cruel and humiliating to make dumb primates jump through hoops for our rudimentary pleasure, so we get sitcom actors instead. Julian Barratt, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Toyah Wilcox are amongst the intrepid cast gamely reviving the ‘what animal are you?’ game from their drama school days. Noel Fielding appears in a cameo losing a private part (there’s a lot of genitalia wandering about).

    Here’s my incredibly wise hindsight-based advice: forget the silly feature film notion. Split the material into individual sketches and scatter them across a dozen episodes of a late-night satirical TV sketch show (do such things still exist?). Offer no explanation, other than to say ‘wait and see’ and you’d have created the cult product that must surely have been the aim. 80 minutes of minor TV stars going ‘eek eek’ is irritating to anyone who isn’t in on the joke, whereas the bite-size approach might have generated some interest and even created some tension and anticipation without being so blinking annoying.

    But let’s look at that title again. AAAAAAAAH! Surely a cry of rage? Existential despair? The lonely roar of a society which has pulled itself apart and doesn’t know what to do? By an amazing coincidence I write all this in the solemnly befuddled afterglow of our Golden Dawn / Fucking Idiotic Brexit Vote / Boris Johnson Ejection Plan (delete as applicable depending on how you claim you voted), an incident which has laid bare some pretty hideous stuff about Our Glorious Motherland / Broken Britain (delete as applicable). Surely a film called AAAAAAAAH!, which reduces humanity to the state of gibbering idiots should be a much angrier film, one which really plugs into the mood of national shame / dumb pride (delete etc) that the vote has revealed. Although the film self-consciously ‘turns dark’ towards the end it does so in a ‘we’ve got to make this more than a load of actors pratting about’ manner. Whereas the country is indeed going through a turmoil of reactions (choose from ‘oops – that was a bit silly’, ‘foreigners go home’, ‘we’ve got our country back’, or even ‘AAAAAAAAH!’), here is a film which failed to uncover that febrile mood. Instead it’s another toothless suburban satire mocking those at the bottom rather than those at the top. Here the biggest targets are those terrible human beings who are guilty of the sin of watching television, whilst more worthy targets (and this is the only way any of them are worthy) are let off the hook: Farage, Cameron, Corbyn, Trump, Philip Green etc. This is The Good Life performed by meerkats when we needed The Thick of It performed by particularly peckish lions.

    Maybe I missed them, but where were the attacks on, for example, the insularity of the British, the kowtowing to the corporate elites, or the fake anti-establishment establishmentarians? Maybe it truly is the primal roar of the urban human in an indifferent world but if so it means it’s the sort of film which unwraps new layers of meaning in different contexts, and through multiple viewings. But to be able to unravel all these potential meanings would require watching it more than once, and, to be honest, I’d rather sit through the collected speeches of Michael Gove.

    Apart from being monumentally irritating, choosing the wrong targets, and being in the wrong format, AAAAAAAAH! is almost an interesting but thoroughly numbing experiment. And didn’t Kubrick pretty much do it all in 2001 anyway?

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