Alexandre Aja

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

(1978-08-07) August 7, 1978 (age 44)
  • Film director
  • film producer
  • screenwriter
Years active1997–present
Notable workHaute Tension, The Hills Have Eyes, Mirrors, Piranha 3D
RelativesDiane Kurys (stepmother)
Sacha Sperling (half-brother)

Alexandre Jouan-Arcady, known professionally as Alexandre Aja, (French: [alɛksɑ̃dʁ aʒa]; born August 7, 1978) is a French filmmaker best known for his work in the horror genre. He 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]

Aja's 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]


Aja 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 1978 film Piranha.[3]

Because 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] and the Mice and Mystics film for Dreamworks Animation.[8] In 2019, Alexandre Aja directed his highest grossing and best reviewed film yet, Crawl.


Year Title Director Writer Producer Notes Ref(s)
1999 Furia Yes Yes [9]
2002 Entre chiens et loups [fr] Yes Also second assistant director [10]
2003 High Tension Yes Yes [11]
2006 The Hills Have Eyes Yes Yes [12][13]
2007 P2 Yes Yes Also story author [14]
2008 Mirrors Yes Yes [15]
2010 Piranha 3D Yes Yes [16]
2012 Maniac Yes Yes [17][18]
2013 Horns Yes Yes [19][20]
2014 The Pyramid Yes [21][22]
2016 The Other Side of the Door Yes [23]
The 9th Life of Louis Drax Yes Yes [24]
2019 Crawl Yes Yes [25]
2021 Oxygen Yes Yes [26]

Other credits

Year Title Role Ref(s)
2004 Mariage mixte Second unit director [27]
2005 Marock Artistic advisor, technical advisor [28][29]
2013 Rock the Casbah Associate producer [30]
2017 La Rage du démon Himself [31]

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, Mike Jr. (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, Mike Jr. (18 August 2010). "Alex Aja Goes from 'Piranha 3D' to 'Cobra: Space Pirate'". Deadline.
  8. ^ McNary, Dave (24 October 2018). "DreamWorks Animation to Develop 'Mice and Mystics' Movie (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 24 February 2022.
  9. ^ "Furia (1999) Alexandre Aja". (in French). Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  10. ^ "Entre chiens et loups (2001) Alexandre Arcady". (in French). Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  11. ^ "Haute tension (1999) Alexandre Aja". (in French). Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  12. ^ "The Hills Have Eyes (2005) Alexandre Aja". (in French). Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  13. ^ "The Hills Have Eyes". American Film Institute. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  14. ^ "P2". American Film Institute. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  15. ^ "Mirrors". American Film Institute. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  16. ^ "Piranha 3D". American Film Institute. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  17. ^ "Piranha 3D". American Film Institute. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  18. ^ Nelson, Rob (26 May 2012). "Maniac". Variety. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  19. ^ "Horns". American Film Institute. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  20. ^ Goldberg, Matt (30 July 2013). "TIFF 2013 Vanguard Line-Up Announced; Includes Alexandre Aja's HORNS Starring Daniel Radcliffe". Retrieved 31 July 2013.
  21. ^ Anthony D'Alessandro (4 December 2014). "Majors Take A Holiday From New Wide Releases – Weekend Box Office Preview". Retrieved 5 December 2014.
  22. ^ "The Pyramid" (in French). Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  23. ^ "The Other Side of the Door" (in French). Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  24. ^ "The 9th Life of Louis Drax". Variety. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  25. ^ Kit, Borys (1 May 2018). "Alexandre Aja, Sam Raimi Team for Paramount Horror Thriller 'Crawl' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 21 August 2018.
  26. ^ Tartaglione, Nancy (23 July 2020). "Netflix Boards Alexandre Aja-Directed Thriller 'O2'; Mélanie Laurent To Star". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 23 July 2020.
  27. ^ "Mariage mixte". (in French). Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  28. ^ "Haute tension (1999) Alexandre Aja". (in French). Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  29. ^ "Marock" (in French). Cannes Film Festival. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  30. ^ "Rock the casbah". Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  31. ^ "La Rage du démon (2016)" (in French). Retrieved 27 December 2017.

External links[edit]