Aimy (Allisyn Ashley Arm) is a creative young woman who is hated by her strict and cruel family. Her spiteful Grandmother Micry (Terry Moore) decides Aimy has gone too far, when she breaks one of her Grandmother’s childhood toys. She orders an invasive operation to make Aimy more docile. Meanwhile, the whole family is trapped in quarantine inside their house as an outbreak of illness sweeps the country.
The opening credits say that this is a Hooroo Jackson trip. This gives you a pretty good idea of what you are in for. The film certainly acts like the mixed up and incoherent product of a person on drugs and someone’s drug trip is never really any fun to watch. Maybe actually being on drugs would make watching this film enjoyable. Maybe a large dose of morphine, Valium or even horse tranquilizers will make the hour and eighteen minutes of this film fun to watch- perhaps all of them together. Sober, this film is soul suckingly annoying to the extent that as the film drones on you begin to wonder whether it is an endurance test put together for the sick enjoyment of the filmmakers.
Aimy in a Cage is based on a graphic novel, also by Hooroo Jackson, which goes some way to explaining its aesthetic, though while some films can take the kinetic and absurd aesthetic of their comic book source material and use it to create their own unique style, like Edgar Wright’s wonderful Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Aimy in a Cage is not one of those films. Though there is some good production design, the film’s style just does not work and it comes across as a hugely amateur version of a Wes Anderson movie, all ADHD editing and flashing images combined with a wet sounding keyboard score.
The film’s plot is difficult to expand on precisely because there is nothing to expand on, as it seems like Hooroo Jackson doesn’t want to focus on anything or give the viewer anything to bring them through the film. The backdrop of a plague, which is apparently ravaging the outside world, is never capitalised on and we barely see beyond the news that a baby has been infected. If I was being generous I’d say that the film showed the family abuse of Aimy, who the family dislike because of her awkward difference, and the barbaric misuse of medicine to treat potential mental illness shown through the unique world view of the highly creative Aimy but if that is the intention then it is a resounding failure as you come away from the film with nothing.
Aimy in a Cage is an annoying frenzy of a film that will push your patience further than any film should.
AIMY IN A CAGE / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR: HOOROO JACKSON / SCREENPLAY: HOOROO JACKSON / STARRING: ALLISYN ASHLEY ARM, CRISPIN GLOVER, TERRY MOOREPAZ DE LA HUERTA / RELEASE DATE: 8TH JANUARY 2016 (USA); TBA (UK)