Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Koko-Di Koko-Da Review: An Old School Horror Descent Into Madness

Leif Edlund	...	Tobias Peter Belli	Peter Belli	...	Mog Rest of cast listed alphabetically: Helle Andersen	Helle Andersen	...	Nurse Stine Bruun	Stine Bruun	...	Birgit (clown) Tanja Craemmer	Tanja Craemmer	...	Nurse Ylva Gallon	Ylva Gallon	...	Elin Katarina Jakobson	Katarina Jakobson	...	Maja Ken-Ichi	Ken-Ichi	...	Dog Morad Baloo Khatchadorian	Morad Baloo Khatchadorian	...	Sampo Martin Knudsen	Martin Knudsen	...	Helge (clown) Brandy Litmanen	Brandy Litmanen	...	Cherry Katrin Willberg	Katrin Willberg	...	Elin (older)

Release date: March 18, 2021
Running time: 86 minutes
Starring: Leif Edlund, Ylva Gallon, Peter Belli
Directed by Johannes Nyholm

As an unhappy couple (Leif Edlund, Operation Ragnarok, and Ylva Gallon, Corridor) embark on a camping trip to find their way back to each other, a sideshow artist (Danish rockstar Peter Belli) and his shady entourage emerge from the woods, terrorizing them, luring them deeper into a maelstrom of psychological terror and humiliating slapstick. 

Produced by  Penelope Julie Bruun Bjerregaard	...	producer's assistant Maria Møller Christoffersen	...	co-producer Nathan Fischer	...	executive producer Peter Hyldahl	...	executive producer Johannes Nyholm	...	producer
Koko-Di Koko-Da has an old school style that makes this feel like a classic horror film.  The filming looks like an older 80s or 90s style movie, and the film has a creepy tense, low tech style that really ratchets up the tension.  And tension is the name of the game here.  The characters are all quite unpredictable so often times you are holding your breath waiting for something to happen.  Everything about this film contributes to the tension: the wooded setting, the time it takes place in, the unpredictability of the sideshow artist and his crew, and the sound design.  The sound especially helps with this, going eerily quiet at times as you wait for something to happen.  And the film doesn't have many tracks, but it has one noticeable one that plays repeatedly to evoke the same creepy, tense style.

Koko-Di Koko-Da's few major characters are nonetheless quite memorable.  The unhappy couple are well acted and their arguments and grief are understandable, though I did not like the man's overall demeanor and treatment of his wife.  I couldn't tell if this was cultural or his character in general but he seemed to be extra rough and callous with her.  However, the acting is quite good and the emotions and fear that the couple endure are realized on screen.  And the sideshow crew are all so unique and perfectly acted.  Belli is one part entertaining and one part immensely unsettling as the sideshow artist, and his two companions do a good job as silent but creepy companions.  

And again, the style of this film is really memorable.  Not only do you have an old school horror feel, but the Koko-Di Koko-Da object is beautifully done.  It has a hand painted style and music box sound that showcases cartoon representations of the sideshow characters perfectly.  And the film also has a really memorable puppet scene that is beautiful and a great way to tell those parts of the story.  It is a really memorable sequence, one that will stick with you as you descend into this madness.  If there is one weak spot with this film it is the story.  It feels like it wasn't explained much, although there is a lot happening and plenty of emotional pain and growth, the overall story and reasoning just didn't seem to be explained.  And the movie ends on a memorable, but somewhat confusing note.  I guess you can leave it to interpretation what happened, but there is no specific closure that you receive.  But taken as a whole, the overall journey of Koko-Di Koko-Da is so well done and creepy, that you can forgive some story shortcomings.  

Koko-Di Koko-Da is an amazingly tense descent into madness, with unpredictable characters, a creepy carnival atmosphere, and an old school horror style.

Watch it.

Directed by  Johannes Nyholm	Writing Credits (in alphabetical order)   Johannes Nyholm carnival carnivale horror sideshow side show freakshow freaks scary tense tension

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Koko-Di Koko-Da is available to stream on Shudder starting March 18, 2021. 

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