The directorial debut of regular Ben Wheatley collaborator Steve Oram, Aaaaaaaah! takes a unique and screwy conceit and runs with it. Alpha male Smith (Oram) – with his sidekick Keith (Tom Meeten) in tow – emerges from a wooded area and sets upon the unnamed city’s suburbs, where he stakes his claim on a female (Lucy Honigman) and her tribe. Perhaps the most outwardly experimental British film of the year, Oram has fashioned a primitive reconstruction of the family drama in which the characters communicate and behave like their brethren – through high-pitched screeches and violent outbursts (defecation and body dismemberment, to name but a few). It’s unquestionably alienating at first, but slowly charms with a well calibrated mix of dark comedy, horror and social satire as new leadership is established. The committed and skilled cast – including Toyah Wilcox and Alice Lowe – embrace the material with panache, making Aaaaaaaah! a tasty but acquired treat that never outstays its welcome.
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