If I kept a tally of how many times I've moaned and begged for horror movies to be weirder I'd break under its weight -- more than ghost kids or zombie nurses it's the really truly WTF moments when sanity is tossed straight into the trash compactor that I live for when it comes to my most favorite genre. I mean a film has to earn those moments -- it can't just be gibberish from frame one and call itself my Dada. There's no "Shelley Duvall seeing the man in a dog suit giving a blow job" without every second of The Shining before it that builds to those scenes of fractured sanity. Patrick Bateman is nothing without Christian Bale's beautiful mask, pre-slippage.
Koko-di Koko-da is a film that straddles that line, starting with its gibberish title -- part of a Swedish kiddie folk-song that will become more important as the film unravels itself -- and dancing down between its truly bizarre rhythms. It's weird as shit from the first moment basically, and then it re-shuffles itself backwards for a minute to be something like Force Majeure watched in a mud puddle after sniffing ketamine, and then it just goes right ahead and flies right off the handle. And it works, it totally works, and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it.
The story as far as "the story" goes is -- although you really should know as little about "the story" as you can going in since "the story" only matters as far as "the story" matters -- is about a family, a mother and a father and a little girl, and all the little vacations they go on. The little girl is celebrating her birthday at the start, and there's a wind-up music-box that plays that demented tune -- painted along its side are some folky figures of a pleasantness too pronounced to be anything but terrifying; smiles so wide they go full rictus.
It's not really a spoiler to say those figures will strut their way into the real world given they're there already in the film's opening scene -- it's their world, everybody else is living around them. But to think of Koko-di Koko-da as the simple case of a haunted object, a Swedish chapter in The Conjuring combined universe, does its commitment to real honest-to-goodness weirdness a disservice; Annabelle ain't got shit on what these monsters can cook up.
Writer-director Johannes Nyholm wants to pick at the threads holding time and space together -- Koko-di Koko-da is a nightmare game of cats-cradle, strands strangling each other off, turning our screams themselves blue in the face. It's a mean movie, unafraid to harm us, annoy us, to pry its invasive way chattering teeth first into our ears, into our eyes, into our brain meat. You won't soon slash ever forget it.
Koko-di Koko-da played the Brooklyn Horror Film Festival today and then will hit theaters in NY & LA come November. I'll make sure to let you know when we know more!