Koko-Di Koko-Da Review

Koko-Di Koko-Da

Directed by Johannes Nyholm (The Giant)
Peter Belli as Mog,
Leif Edlund as Tobias,
Ylva Gallon as Elin,
Katarina Jackobson as Maja,
Brandy Litmanen as Cherry,
Morad Khatchadorian as Sampo.

“Koko-Di Koko-Da” is a Swedish fantasy horror film with unique style and vision from director Johannes Nyholm, in the vein of Groundhog Day and 1974’s British TV series ‘Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense’ on Child’s Play episode with the feel of The Babadook and Twilight Zone. As a couple, Tobias (Leif Edlund) and Elin (Ylva Gallon) are going through a hard time after the death of their daughter, Maja (Katarina Jackobson). Fast forward to few years later with their broken relationship, the couple goes on a camping trip to find their way back to each other, however they are stuck in a time loop with three strangers, a sideshow artist named Mog (Peter Belli) and his two shady entourages, Cherry (Brandy Litmanen) and Sampo (Morad Khatchadorian) emerge from the woods who love to terrorize and luring them deeper into a maelstrom of psychology terror. The only way for the couple to get out of the time loop, they must work together to find each other while fighting back from the three strangers terror.

This review contains SPOILERS:

The film opens with a happy family who is celebrating and having a great time with their daughter for her 8th birthday. Johannes Nyholm is able to take his time by building their relationship until their daughter, Maja died because of allergic reaction from the food she and her mother, Elin, consumed at the party. In this short amount of time, Nyholm is able to convey our emotion from happiness to a shock, sadden us, the audience with the loss of Maja. Act 2 starts few years later with the couple is going on a camping trip. The feel is very gloomy and sorrow, in here we see their broken relationship right when it started. We see a total different character from the couple from act 1. Once they arrived at the camping ground, things start happening as Elin wakes up and needs to take a leak. Three strangers show up out of nowhere. They’re pretty much lunatics that reminded me so much of the family from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I thought this would be going to that direction after Mog, the sideshow artist and leader of the group, which reminded so much of The Old Man from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre who loves to play around with his victims, since Mog is playing around with Elin before he orders the mental disorder, Sampo, a little boy who is stuck in an adult body, to kill Elin. Which Sampo reminded of Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I expected to have Tobias to be brought back to their house to be killed and eat him, as just in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Boy, I was dead wrong. Nyholm was able to give and make people think where this is going but instead it’s going to a completely different direction. Instead, Tobias was being bullied by them as Mog ordered Cherry, his other companions, to shoot Tobias on his penis as the camera slowly pan out to the sky, building the suspense, we know Tobias is going to be shot, but when, taking the time to build the suspense. This scene feels like an ode to me from Rob Zombie’s House of 1000 Corpses, where Ortiz (played by Bill Moseley) pointing the gun to the victim as the camera pan out to the sky, taking the time to build the suspense and bam! The gun fires. I love this scene from Koko Di Koko-Da.

After Tobias dies, the scene cut back to a different scene and time but within the time frame of the couple on their way to the camping ground. Another character relationship is built up here then cut again to where Elin needs to take a leak as Tobias wakes up and felt like he just had a bad dream but it was real. Eventually he realizes that he is stuck in the time loop over and over. He realizes that this three strangers are coming for them and the only way to beat them and the time loop he has to get out of there alive. They finally got away alive as they drive home, no dialogue between the two characters but Nyholm was able to carry what are they feeling at the moment. The quietness in the car gave the moment where they recognizing their broken relationship. Then an accident happens as they hit an animal and crash into a big pond. The recognition of both characters happen here as they both realized the only thing in the world that matter is each other and they’re lucky to have and rely on each other. This is what they have left. Nyholm did not hold back. He has more surprise on his sleeves. As its faded to black and faded in to reveal Maja, the dead daughter from the beginning of the movie, sits in pitch black, playing with a music box. We reveal the music box is painted with a funny picture of the three strangers, Mog, Cherry and Sampo. This is a great metaphor and catharsis here and some sort of a way to explain why the couple in the time loop. Felt like Maja puts her mom and dad in the music box with the three strangers to work out their issues until they prevail. Great moment in the film! This scene right here reminded me so much of 1974’s British TV series ‘Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense’ on Child’s Play episode. Where in the episode, a couple and their daughter wake up in their house walled in, and can’t get out, no matter how hard they try to destroy those walls that surrounded the house. In the end we reveal that they’re in a dollhouse as they’re the dolls, and a little girl is playing with them.

Very well executed and great metaphor, considering this is Nylhom’s second feature film. The choice of the score and original music are amazing with the folklore taste and vibe. It gives the emotion of the characters to the next level. The film has minimal blood and violence, we don’t see much of those but very effective with the eeriness and suspense that built by director Nyholm. Definitely one of the best art house indie horror films out there. I recommended this to not just the horror fans, but if you’re just a movie buff or even into filmmaking and studying film, this is one film that deserves your attention. I’ll have to score this film 5 of 5.

“Koko-Di Koko-Da” will be in virtual theaters on November 6th including Los Angeles, New York and major cities, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Cleveland, and more to follow. And will be on all VOD platforms (U.S. & Canada) on December 8th.