The cast is uniformly excellent in roles that force them to convey emotions and 'dialogue' solely using grunts, sighs, whistles and snarls. What might have come off as a cringeworthy training session from the RADA playbook is, thankfully, anything but – it's inspired. Julian Barrett, as a bruised and belittled patriarch, is the stand-out performance. As he sleeps rough under a hedge at the bottom of the garden, occasionally interacting with his daughter (played by Lucy Honigman), 'Jupiter', as the character is named in the end credits, is a usurped king merely biding his time before taking back the throne. The character's saturnine melancholy and sadsack tramp meekness are brilliantly portrayed by Barratt, and his scenes with the daughter, who feeds him slices of Battenberg cake when nobody is looking, are endearing and sweet. That's why, then, the ending is completely shocking. What makes Aaaaaaaah! so clever and so compelling is, to borrow a line David Attenborough might have said gazing into the eyes of a silverback mountain gorilla, but is actually uttered by Barbara (Patricia Tallman) in the 1990 remake of The Night of the Living Dead: "We're them and they're us."
This review was originally published as part of our coverage of Film4 FrightFest 2015
Martyn Conterio | @Cinemartyn