Going Ape In South London: Aaaaaaaah! Reviewed

Aaaaaaaah! ★★★☆☆

By Stuart Black Last edited 34 months ago
Going Ape In South London: Aaaaaaaah! Reviewed Aaaaaaaah! 3

Steve Oram monkeying about as Smith.

The eight letter As in the title of uncategorisable new film Aaaaaaaah! are probably meant to be pronounced with an ululating vibrato rather than the single scream they might suggest on the page. That's because this particular onomatopoeia is meant to simulate the primal grunt of an over-excited ape. Such sounds make up the entire script of this comedy-horror-soap, which has clambered out of the strange brain of Steve Oram (Sightseers) and is released online today.

Originally, Oram, who writes, directs and acts here, created a conventional screenplay in English for his cast of comics (The Mighty Boosh) and ex-pop stars (Toyah Wilcox), but then he decided to chuck everything out and replace the lot with chimpy exhalations instead. It's a strange tactic but one that seems to suit his twisted tale of domestic power wrangling in South London.

The story, or what we can follow of it at least, concerns Oram’s alpha male Smith rebounding from his wife’s infidelity (the film opens with him urinating on her picture) by striding into a new neighbourhood to try his luck with the females of another tribe. If that means taking on dominant local rival Ryan (Julian Rhind-Tutt) or fading former hero Jupiter (a sad-eyed and often naked Julian Barratt) then so be it.

Anything goes in this suburban jungle: unusual animal parts are eaten as tributes, someone stops the action to take a dump on the kitchen floor and in one glorious scene of Grand Guignol excess, Noel Fielding gets his knob bitten off.

If all that sounds like enormous fun, be warned: some of it is, but it doesn't always make sense and long stretches drag like an orangutan's knuckles. The execution is defiantly low-fi, which can make it feel like you’re watching Hollyoaks and, truth be told, the satirical ideas run out of steam early on leaving a film that feels like it’s trying a bit too hard to claim cult status.

Aaaaaaaah! is released online today as part of FrightFest Presents, the first slate of movies from the team behind the annual London horror festival. See the trailer below.

Last Updated 19 October 2015