Bergman meets Funny Games in Johannes Nyholm’s Groundhog Day Of The Dead Koko-Di Koko-Da.
In this dreamy tale of dark woods, a couple get more than they expected on a camping trip when they receive visitations from a sideshow artist and his shady entourage, who set off a mysterious and unsettling chain of events.
Following a horrific tragedy, couple Tobias and Elin go on a trip to try and help reconnect. The relationship is already on a knife’s edge when Tobias decides to pull over and camp for the night. After a fractious night’s sleep, the couple are attacked before waking up to play the morning’s events over again.
The wrinkle in time is that only Tobias seems to realise what is going on. His actions make minor changes but the end result is always the same.
At first Tobias acts in a cowardly way based on self-preservation. This twisted fairy tale is a fable where the couple are being tested and they must learn to work together in order to break the loop.
With the couple’s tent being set up in a small clearing surrounded by deep forest, and the fact that even if they do escape, their tormentors still find them, it creates an effective sense of claustrophobia and confinement. You can only delay the inevitable.
In order to escape this physical and temporal prison, they must confront their demons (literally and metaphorically).
Between the Lynchian antagonists and creepy children’s song, Nyholm creates an atmosphere that feels like you are trapped in the Grimmest of fairy tales. The handheld camera appears to float around the characters, adding to dream-like quality to the story.
It is certainly not a sweet dream but Koko-Di Koko-Da is a beautiful nightmare.
Koko-Di Koko-Da is available on VOD from Monday 7 September.
Director: Johannes Nyholm
Stars: Leif Edlund, Peter Belli, Yiva Gallon
Runtime: 89 minutes