Trapped in a cryogenic chamber with declining oxygen levels, a woman must learn to team up with the machine to escape.
Since entering popular culture with the slasher d 2003 lesbian exploitation "High Tension", horror director Alexandre Aja has directed major productions in English: remakes of "The Hills Have Eyes" and "Maniac", as well as the explosive horror comedy "Piranha 3D".
"Oxygen," filmed during the summer of 2020 during the height of the coronavirus pandemic and now streaming on Netflix, is thereturn of Aja to French-speaking cinema. It also shows how much better the director can do with a sparse screenplay (written by Christie LeBlanc).
The film takes place almost entirely in a cryogenic chamber slightly larger than a coffin. The film follows a woman (Melanie Laurent) after a dysfunction brings her out of hyper sleep. Trapped and with dwindling oxygen levels, she must learn to team up with the machine, controlled by a grim but pleasant A.I. named Milo (Mathieu Amalric), to escape.
The premise is simple, but this twist-filled LeBlanc gives Laurent ample opportunity to shine. Due to its limited setting, the film clings to Laurent's acting ability, and it oscillates with exhilaration, terror and determination. Aja maintains the tension throughout, using horror conventions - and somes inexpensive jerks - to shock audiences regularly. Although "Oxygen " is more of a thriller than horror, these manipulations keep the film tense, even if its bends gullible. y.
The opening of the film is immediately captivating, plunging viewers into a claustrophobic nightmare. When the protagonist is awake, she must make her way through a protective bag. Introduced by the sound of a beating heart and images of warped lab rats, Laurent's first face shots promise something monstrous underneath. His features are elongated by red lights and his shallow breaths seem more animal than human. When Laurent's face becomes visible, his fingers cross the cocoon like the breasts of "Alien". The effect is eerie, confusing viewers and immediately aligning them with the film's lead role.
" Oxygen "is a film defined by its lack of space and artistry, and the animation departments have expertly built a cryogenic chamber that is both visually pleasing and spooky enough. AI Milo is rendered as a circle of pulsating waves similar to Siri, sometimes offering other interfaces for Laurent to navigate. As Milo's voice, Almaric corresponds to the cold, detached energy of his surroundings, everything by gaining confidence as the only ally of his captor. The two even share a few ironic exchanges, lending humor to an otherwise austere tale.
"Oxygen " is the rare genre movie that's tight enough to pull off. Streaming. This will force you to put your phone across the living room a little longer - or at least make you thankful for it. have a whole room to go through.
Not rated. In French, subtitled. Duration: 1 hour 40 minutes. Watch on Netflix.