|'A weak and puerile idea that would have struggled to fill a brief comedy sketch, stretched over almost eighty minutes'.|
The directorial debut of Steve Oram, the absurdly-titled Aaaaaaaah! lives and dies by its high concept. Unfortunately, not only does it drop dead within the first ten minutes, but Oram then proceeds to mercilessly flog it for more than an hour after any signs of life can be seen.
The high concept from Oram, who also wrote the script, is that of a present day human society that behaves in an ape-like manner. This includes their method of communication, meaning that not a single line of dialogue is spoken throughout Aaaaaaaah!, with each character grunting their way through every scene. It's perhaps the most interesting aspect of Oram's idea - but that just means it becomes tiresome a bit later than everything else.
Other than their Neanderthal vocalisations, the characters' primate propensities are largely an excuse for base-level physical comedy and toilet humour. There are numerous wanking jokes, each as unfunny as the last. A number of characters appear in various states of undress throughout, such as a woman seen early on presenting a cooking programme on TV with her breasts out for no real reason. It feels kind to call elements such as this failed attempts at humour, when really they're quite clearly just a lame excuse to put some boobs on screen.
Looking deeper than knob and knocker gags, Aaaaaaaah! is fundamentally flawed throughout. What little narrative Oram presents is rudimentary and barely holds together for the film's scant seventy-nine minutes, offering nobody to root for and nothing to care about. There are one or two surreal moments which do work, such as Smith (Oram) buying groceries whilst casually carrying an arm he tore off another character he fought to the death earlier, but these are simply too scarce to go any way to saving the film.
More problematic is the severe lack of internal logic to Oram's premise. Simply put, it's never made clear why the people we are watching behave like apes, so the world of Aaaaaaaah! completely fails to ring true. If this is a post-apocalyptic near-future, why is society continuing to function as normal around these monkey men and women? If the characters can't get through a meal without throwing food all over each other, why should we believe that they're also capable of manufacturing the video game systems and high-tech flatscreen TVs we see them using?
Oram occasionally seems to want us to see this as a satire on modern society, but by crafting something with such glaring and lazy oversights his film never manages to escape what it actually is: a weak and puerile idea that would have struggled to fill a brief comedy sketch, stretched over almost eighty minutes.