Alexandre Aja

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Alexandre Aja
Alexandre Aja (17493159043) (cropped).jpg
Alexandre Aja in 2015
Alexandre Jouan-Arcady

(1978-08-07) 7 August 1978 (age 41)
Paris, France
OccupationFilm director, film producer, screenwriter
Years active1997–present
Known forExtreme horror
Notable work
Haute Tension, The Hills Have Eyes, Mirrors, Piranha 3D

Alexandre Jouan-Arcady, known professionally as Alexandre Aja, (French: [alɛksɑ̃dʁ aʒa]; born 7 August 1978) is a French film director best known for his work in the horror genre. Aja rose to international stardom for his 2003 horror film Haute Tension (known as High Tension in the US and Switchblade Romance in the UK). He has also directed the films The Hills Have Eyes (2006), Mirrors (2008), Piranha 3D (2010), Horns (2013) and Crawl (2019).

Personal life[edit]

His pseudonymous surname is formed from the initial letter of each of the three parts of his real name. He was born in Paris, France, and is the son of Jewish French Pied-Noir director Alexandre Arcady and French cinema critic Marie-Jo Jouan.[citation needed]


He acted at a very young age in minor roles in his father's films such as Le Grand Carnaval [fr], and the two Le Grand Pardon [fr] films.

He made his directorial debut at the age of eighteen with the short film Over the Rainbow, which received a Cannes Film Festival Golden Palm Award nomination for best short film. In 1999 he directed Furia, a film based on Julio Cortázar's short story Graffiti. From Furia and his next features, he frequently works with Grégory Levasseur as writers such as in The Hills Have Eyes, Mirrors, P2, and Piranha 3D. Levasseur also made his works as production designer too.

Aja in January 2011

Aja directed Haute Tension, which released in 2003 in France and in 2005 in the US, and placed Aja on the map of the horror movie genre. The French slasher, though sticking to horror conventions, pushed the envelope of gore and tension. The film is an unauthorized reinterpretation of the novel "Intensity", by Dean Koontz. Favouring make-up effects over computer-generated imagery, the film quickly found respect among horror fans. It was released in the US as High Tension, after some editing. The film was nominated for the grand prize at the Amsterdam Fantastic Film Festival, and earned Aja awards for Best Direction and Best Fantasy Film at the Sitges - Catalan International Film Festival.

After seeing High Tension, American director Wes Craven asked Aja to come up with a concept for the remake of his 1977 film The Hills Have Eyes. Craven subsequently asked Aja to direct the movie, which was released with an R rating in the US after extensive editing.[1][failed verification]

His next project was a horror film entitled Mirrors, about a mysterious mirror that brings out the worst aspects of people whenever they look at themselves in it. The film is a remake of the K-Horror film Into the Mirror. Aja directed Piranha 3D, a horror movie about prehistoric piranhas in Arizona.[2] It is a remake of the film Piranha.[3]

Because Alexandre Aja was working on Mirrors, he did not direct the sequel to The Hills Have Eyes 2, which was released on 10 March 2007.[4][failed verification]

In 2004, Aja was named by Variety on the Ten Directors to Watch list. He is a member of the so-called Splat Pack, a term coined by film historian Alan Jones in Total Film magazine for a new wave of directors making brutally violent horror films. The other Splat Pack members are Darren Lynn Bousman, Neil Marshall, Greg Mclean, Eli Roth, James Wan, Leigh Whannell, and Rob Zombie.

Aja has been associated with the New French Extremity film movement.

Aja produced a remake of the 1980 horror slasher Maniac, starring Elijah Wood.[5] The film was released in 2012. In 2013, he directed the dark fantasy thriller Horns, starring Daniel Radcliffe, Juno Temple, Joe Anderson, James Remar, Kelli Garner and Max Minghella. He also produced the 2014 horror film The Pyramid directed by Grégory Levasseur and starring Ashley Hinshaw, Denis O'Hare, and James Buckley. Aja produced and directed the 2016 psychological thriller film The 9th Life of Louis Drax, which is based on a novel by Liz Jensen.[6]

Aja is set to direct a live action adaptation of the manga series Space Adventure Cobra.[7] In 2019, Alexandre Aja directed his highest grossing and best reviewed film yet, Crawl


Title Year Director Writer Producer Other Notes Ref(s)
Furia 2000 Yes Yes [8]
Entre chiens et loups [fr] 2002 Yes Yes Second assistant director [9]
High Tension 2003 Yes Yes [10]
Mariage mixte 2004 Yes Second unit director [11]
Marock 2005 Yes Artistic advisor, technical advisor [12][13]
The Hills Have Eyes 2006 Yes Yes [14][15]
P2 2007 Yes Yes Yes Story author [16]
Mirrors 2008 Yes Yes [17]
Piranha 3D 2010 Yes Yes [18]
Maniac 2012 Yes Yes [19][20]
Horns 2013 Yes Yes [21][22]
Rock the Casbah Yes Associate producer [23]
The Pyramid 2014 Yes [24][25]
The Other Side of the Door 2016 Yes [26]
The 9th Life of Louis Drax Yes Yes [27]
La Rage du démon 2017 Yes Himself [28]
Crawl 2019 Yes Yes [29]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Piranha 3D New Title Treatment and Updated Website".
  2. ^ Ditzian, Eric (30 March 2010). "'Piranha 3-D' Director Talks Nudity, Blood And The Future Of 3-D". MTV News.
  3. ^ "Alex Aja Defends Post 3-D 'Piranha', Talks Blood and Guts". Bloody Disgusting. 31 March 2010.
  4. ^ "25 of the Decade's Most Influential Figures in Horror".
  5. ^ Fleming Jr, Mike (4 November 2011). "Elijah Wood Finds Killer Role In 'Maniac'". Deadline.
  6. ^ "The 9th Life Of Louis Drax". Bloody Disgusting. 29 January 2015.
  7. ^ Fleming Jr, Mike (18 August 2010). "Alex Aja Goes from 'Piranha 3D' to 'Cobra: Space Pirate'". Deadline.
  8. ^ "Furia (1999) Alexandre Aja". (in French). Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  9. ^ "Entre chiens et loups (2001) Alexandre Arcady". (in French). Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  10. ^ "Haute tension (1999) Alexandre Aja". (in French). Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  11. ^ "Mariage mixte". (in French). Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  12. ^ "Haute tension (1999) Alexandre Aja". (in French). Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  13. ^ "Marock" (in French). Cannes Film Festival. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  14. ^ "The Hills Have Eyes (2005) Alexandre Aja". (in French). Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  15. ^ "The Hills Have Eyes". American Film Institute. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  16. ^ "P2". American Film Institute. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  17. ^ "Mirrors". American Film Institute. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  18. ^ "Piranha 3D". American Film Institute. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  19. ^ "Piranha 3D". American Film Institute. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  20. ^ Nelson, Rob (26 May 2012). "Maniac". Variety. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  21. ^ "Horns". American Film Institute. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  22. ^ Goldberg, Matt (30 July 2013). "TIFF 2013 Vanguard Line-Up Announced; Includes Alexandre Aja's HORNS Starring Daniel Radcliffe". Retrieved 31 July 2013.
  23. ^ "Rock the casbah". Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  24. ^ Anthony D'Alessandro (4 December 2014). "Majors Take A Holiday From New Wide Releases – Weekend Box Office Preview". Retrieved 5 December 2014.
  25. ^ "The Pyramid" (in French). Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  26. ^ "The Other Side of the Door" (in French). Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  27. ^ "The 9th Life of Louis Drax". Variety. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  28. ^ "La Rage du démon (2016)" (in French). Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  29. ^ Kit, Borys (1 May 2018). "Alexandre Aja, Sam Raimi Team for Paramount Horror Thriller 'Crawl' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 21 August 2018.

External links[edit]