Last night I gladly leaped at the chance to screen a foreign film that will be getting a limited US release very soon with a VOD release soon after. Swedish psychological horror film Koko-Di Koko-Da (pronounced coh-coh-DEE, coh-coh-DAY) is directed by Johannes Nyholm. It strives to be more than it is, though the bones of the film are solid. The execution and inconsistent tone of Koko-di Koko-da become the things that really let down what is somehow being billed a psychological horror and described as a slapstick comedy by its own director.
I won’t lie, I very much dislike writing “bad reviews.” So many skilled people work so hard to make a movie happen. It’s also a little complex for me to come from a critical place when I know that I personally don’t even have the cultural context to fully appreciate some of the layers that are clearly very deliberately laid in this – the name of the film comes from a French nursery rhyme about a rooster who can’t crow anymore because he has died. The melodic song repeated throughout the movie was completely unfamiliar to me, but so is the Danish version of Happy Birthday that is sung at a crucial juncture in this movie.
The first 20 minutes of the film are pretty decent. A family on vacation, a local celebration, and a music boxed song. There is a palpably stark moment of grief, then a truly beautiful shadowboxed sequence. It’s here where the plot gets muddied down by shots that linger in place for far too long, and characters that flip flop being cartoony or garish. An entry into the Groundhog Day genre, of sorts, the recurrences allow you to spot every flaw, from the plot’s shifting logic to the character inconsistencies. Rather than feeling surreal, it leaves you not feeling very much at all.
For me, this film fell short of achieving goodness, much less greatness. It’s unfortunate, because I absolutely can see what Nyholm’s vision tried to be, and amidst an hour and a half of painfully mundane subtley, there were some very lovely moments.
Koko-Di Koko-Da will be released in Virtual Theaters on November 6 including ones in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Cleveland, and major cities to follow.
It will also be released to various VOD services in the US and Canada on December 8th including Apple TV/ iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Xbox, Vudu, You Tube, Fandango Now, Dish Network and all major cable providers (Including: Comcast/Xfinity, Spectrum, Cox and Verizon Fios)
Are you planning on watching the movie? Want to talk to me about it? Feel free to chat with me on Twitter or leave a comment below!