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Alexandre Aja soaked horror fans with blood and a twisted bit of extreme gore when he gave the world his gruesome masterpiece Haute Tension in 2003, and it’s safe to say the genre hasn’t been the same since.

Written & Directed by Alexandre Aja

If you have not experienced that film then I highly recommend you watch it with caution, as it is filled with practical effects realism that go into over drive displaying some of the most vicious on screen deaths ever captured.

For the ultra Purists, Aja’s movies are splatter fests that have some similarity to Eli Roth’s, and they tend to not shy away from moments of intensity that make them incredibly hard to watch.

In 2006 Aja shook the American audiences with remake of The Hills Have Eyes, and even among horror fans this one had particular moments that were deemed almost unnecessary or overtly graphic.

Written & Directed by Alexandre Aja

Full disclosure, I saw that movie once and it personally wasn’t for me, but it still usually makes the favorable horror remakes list for other fans. So, that’s something.

Aja truly came onto my personal radar for the screenplay he wrote for 2012’s Maniac which was directed by fellow French director Franck Khalfoun.

Written by Alexandre Aja

If I were to swing completely to my Horror Purist’s side, this is my favorite film of the genre and easily gave me one of the most frightening experiences when I first watched it.

For  my friends who I have recommended it to, I apologize, because most of you have not finished it, but for the weirdos who did… You’re welcome.

Where to start… Okay. Maniac is a 2012 remake of the 1980 film of the same name, it follows a serial killer named Frank who is just as monstrous as any supernatural creature I have ever seen on screen.

The actual terrifying nature of this film is heightened by the directional choice to shoot the entire thing from the killer’s point of view which forces the audience to witness horror in an unfamiliar forced perspective.

Maniac also has one of the best scores in the genre and next level acting from every character.

I truly feel that had this project came out 5 years later it would possibly be met with a warmer reception among the popularity of the true crime era on streaming services.

Aja returned this past summer with the July release of Crawl, a home invasion/creature feature/survival movie that had a woman and her father swimming for their lives against hurricane caused floods and blood thirsty alligators.

Directed by Alexandre Aja

As with Aja’s other work, it was visceral experience that had some absolutely eye popping moments which made you instantly feel panicked watching the heroes try to stay alive against the next to impossible odds.

However, this time around it felt as though there was a more pop and jump scare aspect that is common in American modern horror, but his signature practical effects gore was there which delivered on all fronts.

If you’re looking to make a marathon for friends who are fans of the genre, Aja will always make top of my lists for suggestions, but seriously know your audience.

The French gore specialist is not for everyone and you can really make for some awkward moments for people who aren’t prepared.

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westcoaststrange
joel@westcoaststrange.com

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