KOKO-DI KOKO-DA / CERT: 18 / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: JOHANNES NYHOLM / STARRING: LEIF EDLUND, PETER BELLI, YLVA GALLON / RELEASE DATE: MARCH 27TH
Three years after the death of their daughter, Elin and Tobias decide to go camping in the hopes of rekindling their relationship. With the burden of their shared trauma still lingering over them, the pair find themselves still reeling from the unexpected tragedy as they attempt to get back to normality. Things soon go from bad to worse when they wake up one night to see a troupe of outlandish figures waiting for them outside of their tent. Caught in a vicious cycle of torment and humiliation, Tobias soon realises that there’s no escape as he’s forced to relive the deadly encounter over and over again.
With dashes of dark fantasy mixed with psychological horror, Koko-di Koko-da is made up from a concoction of contrasting genres. A unique oddity directed by Johannes Nyholm, there’s plenty here for fans of foreign cinema to get excited about as Nyholm’s latest film is able to explore grief, guilt and trauma through a surrealist narrative. Containing strong performances alongside impeccable direction, there’s a hypnotic quality throughout that haunts the viewer like a lucid nightmare. The cinematography plays a huge role in setting the tone as the colourful backdrop of pastel colours becomes more muted as the film goes on creating a bleak reality that contrasts with the almost idyllic introduction.
It’s a shame however that we’re unable to spend more time with the characters of Elin and Tobias as they quickly become conduits for the horrific events that unfold around them. Stuck in an endless loop of terror, there are moments of dark humour that break up the gradual monotony of their suffering. The sinister melody of the film's title that plays throughout does a terrific job at elevating the atmosphere at all the right moments whilst being unquestionably catchy to listen to. Traditional horror fans who may be looking for some scares may need to think twice when encountering Koko-di Koko-da as it could be considered more of a psychological horror in the same vein as The Babadook. With both films centering around grief and reconciliation, there are many similarities between the two that will give you a good idea of what to expect from Nyholm’s latest outing.
An impressive entry into the psychological horror genre, Koko-di Koko-da boasts captivating performances, solid direction and an atmosphere like no other. At only 85 minutes long, one would be hard-pressed not to give this a watch as Nyholm may just be one of the brighter talents to rise from the Scandinavian horror scene.