What would you do if you woke up in a cryogenic capsule? Darkness around you, leaking air, unable to breathe, unsure how you got there? How would you survive
That is the central question Alexandre Aja‘s next horror thriller, oxygen, which will be streamed worldwide on Netflix this spring. And it’s the one who got Aja (High Tension, Crawl) into making the film herself. When he said to our own Steve Weintraub, “I was there the whole time. I imagined waking up in this cryogenic unit and trying to figure out who brought me there and why. I felt their despair.” And if you want to feel their despair, you will be amazed by these exclusive images below.
The “she” is trapped in this device Melanie Laurent (Inglourious Basterds) whose character lives in the near future, where breathable air is hard to come by, and who has to claw their way out of this situation with life intact. The script is from Christie LeBlancand when Aja first read it he felt “like it captured such an intense experience of survival so well. It made me think of the best of” To bury, but with one 28 days later Twist … The story is a mystery box built like a maze from which you have to escape. “Aja directed the film” so fast … in Paris between the last two waves of the pandemic “and believes the message of the film is ultimately inspirational to those of us who are still stuck trying to survive this damn pandemic.” The Film looked strangely like what we went through during the lockdown, “explained Aja.
The film also plays the lead role Mathieu Amalric (Sound of Metal) and Malik Zidi. It is produced by Aja, Vincent Maraval (French exit), Brahim Chioua (Climax), Noëmie Devide (Spring Breakers) and regular Aja contributor Gregory Levasseur. Oxygen is coming to Netflix Spring 2021.
Take a deep breath and check out our exclusive images below along with the official recap and more from our exclusive interview with Alexandre Aja.
Oxygen is a French survival thriller directed by Alexandre Aja. The film tells the story of a young woman (Mélanie Laurent, 6 Underground, Inglourious Basterds) who wakes up in a cryogenic capsule. She can’t remember who she is or how she got there. Since she is running out of oxygen, she has to rebuild her memory to find a way out of her nightmare. The film was shot in French but will be available on Netflix in 35 languages once it is released.
Image via Netflix
Collider: What was it about this project that said “I want to do it”?
ALEXANDRE AJA: I remember reading Christie LeBlanc’s script when it was blacklisted and felt that it captured such an intense experience of survival so well. I had to think of the best of Buried, but with a twist 28 days later. I was there all the way, imagining myself waking up in that cryo unit trying to figure out who had brought me there and why. I felt their despair.
The story is a mystery box built like a maze from which you have to escape.
I was supposed to be producing when I was on board to lead another project, but when Covid met us, production was also successful and I had the opportunity to lead Oxygen. What contributed to my decision was that the film, oddly enough, mirrored what we’d been through during lockdown, the need to breathe, to escape.
How do you compare the film to your previous work?
AJA: I’m always looking for stories that I want to see as a viewer. Specifically, survival stories. In these difficult times I find them very helpful and inspiring.
Image via Netflix
Had you seen Ryan Reynolds’ film Buried before doing the project and did you learn anything that helped you watch Oxygen?
AJA: Buried is definitely one of those cinematic experiences that I didn’t think about. Oxygen begins in a similar fashion, but then takes a great post-apocalyptic and emotional upheaval.
How did you describe the film to friends?
AJA: Oxygen is an edge of your sitting sci-fi thriller with a really emotional and perhaps existential twist.
What do you like about working internationally with Netflix?
AJA: You pulled the trigger so quickly that we could shoot between the last two waves of the pandemic in Paris. Working with her international team was great. I had the creative freedom to adapt the script in French, work with Mélanie Laurent, and bring my vision to the story.
Image via Netflix
What do you like about low-budget, character-based stuff after something intense like crawl?
AJA: Oxygen wasn’t exactly a low budget movie. The film’s single-location and single-character DNA made it cheaper, but shares the same ambition as Crawl.
How has the editing process been since Netflix has been able to release whatever version you want without worrying about the rating?
AJA: Oxygen’s story isn’t particularly bloody, so I haven’t had to take advantage of Netflix’s unrated guidelines just yet. Maybe the next!
Would you like to tell people something else about the film?
AJA: Take a deep breath!
Image via Netflix
READ ON: Spike Lee Produces Cthulhu Horror Movie For Netflix That Is Likely To Have More Than 5 Blood Cells
The ‘Halo’ TV series is moving from Showtime to Paramount + for debut in early 2022
Pablo Schreiber and Natascha McElhone star in the long-awaited adaptation of the successful video game franchise.
About the author
(1051 articles published)
Gregory Lawrence (aka Greg Smith) is a writer, director, performer, songwriter, and comedian. He is Associate Editor for Collider and has written for Shudder, CBS, Paste Magazine, Guff, Smosh, Obsev Studios, and others. He loves pizza and the Mortal Kombat movie. More information is available at www.smithlgreg.com
More from Gregory Lawrence