Dir: Steve Oram. With: Steve Oram, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Toyah Willcox, Lucy Honigman. 79 mins. Cert: 18
The directorial debut of Sightseers star Steve Oram is a singular item of monkey business that envisions a world populated by vile beasts who look like humans, but think, act and converse like apes. Shot for peanuts (or bananas) around decidedly trusting souls’ flats, the result often resembles an actors’ body-language workshop run amok, but between the territory-marking and leg-humping – funny on some primal level – a narrative and wounded psychology does evolve. Inevitably, it’s the grunting males, impelled to claim alpha status, who provide Oram’s satirical focus, yet equally – from title through to bleak finale – you can’t miss the film’s despair at the ways women respond to such shows of mastery. Like any cult item worth its salt, it won’t be for everyone, but its oddly complete universe extends to imagining what primate sitcoms and radio might be like, while a rich strain of bathos yields, among other treats, the cinema’s most poignant use of Battenberg cake.
Aaaaaaaah! is now playing in selected cinemas.