Alexandre Aja Says His New Film Is Like Buried And 28 Days Later

Cillian Murphy in 28 Days Later

Science fiction and horror can often go exceptionally well together, giving us several examples of highlights in both genres. Details have been a little thin on the ground for Oxygen, the latest such hybrid, but its director has now given us a brief take on the concept, as well as a few images from the pic.

The film sees a woman (Mélanie Laurent, Inglourious Basterds) wake up in a medical cryogenic pod with no recollection of who she is or how she got there. Trapped in a coffin-sized box and with her air supply swiftly diminishing, she must find a way to recover her lost memories if she wants to have any hope of surviving the ordeal.

Director Alexandre Aja has offered up some thoughts on what the film means to him, and recently had this to say about it:

“It got me thinking of the best of Buried, but with a 28 Days Later twist. I was in it all the way, I pictured myself waking up locked in this cryo unit, trying to figure out who put me there and why; I felt her desperation. The movie looked oddly reflective of what we went through during lockdown, of the need to breathe, to escape. The story is a mystery box built like a labyrinth from which you have to escape.”

Aja is a French director of mostly horror movies such as Crawl, Horns, High Tension (aka Switchblade Romance), and remakes The Hills Have Eyes, Piranha 3D and Maniac. Although his filmography is something of a mixed bag, a key theme of every entry is survival, and the extremes to which ordinary people can push themselves in the name of doing everything they can to stay alive, something its sounds like Oxygen will feature more than a little of.

The comparison to Buried, where Ryan Reynolds spends the entire pic trapped in a coffin desperately talking to people over the phone, is self-explanatory, while the invocation of 28 Days Later is likely from some kind of post-apocalyptic setting where outside aid won’t be forthcoming, rather than any red-eyed rage monsters that might be roaming the anonymous facility.

Previously titled O2, Oxygen looks like an intense and claustrophobic thriller that won’t relent from its opening moments to the closing credits, and we can all find out for ourselves how it turns out when it’s released on Netflix later this year.