Alexandre Aja has spent his entire career operating exclusively within the realm of B-tier horror, but the filmmaker has mastered the art of navigating the many different subgenres within. Since breaking out with controversial cult favorite slasher High Tension in 2003, which was released when the director was only 24 years old, he’s remained within his wheelhouse ever since, while still managing to explore the various different corners of it.
The Hills Have Eyes remake upgraded Wes Craven’s classic for the mid-2000s torture porn craze, Piranha 3D was a tongue-in-cheek and hugely enjoyable slice of bloodily comedic insanity, Horns turned Daniel Radcliffle into a demon trying to solve a murder, The 9th Life of Louis Drax was an admirably ambitious misfire, and his most recent effort Crawl was a smart update on the low budget creature feature that went down a storm with critics while doing solid business at the box office.
Directing his first French-language film in almost two decades, Netflix’s survival thriller Oxygen arrives on May 12th. Inglourious Basterds star Melanie Laurent plays a young woman who wakes up in a cryogenic pod with no idea how she got there, and with her air levels running out, she tries to recover her memories and find a way to escape.
Aja has described Oxygen as being inspired by Danny Boyle’s modern zombie classic 28 Days Later and the severely underrated Buried, which saw Ryan Reynolds give arguably the best performance of his entire career while confined to the inside of a coffin. The first footage certainly promises plenty of tension and atmosphere, but given Aja’s background in horror, there’s still a chance that things aren’t going to be as straightforward as they seem.