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Review: Koko-Di Koko-Da a.k.a. Michael Haneke’s Groundhog Day

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Released on the 7th of September on BFI player, Blu-ray and digital, Koko-Di Koko-Da is written and directed by Johannes Nyholm (The Giant) and stars Leif Edlund (Operation Ragnarok), Ylva Gallon (Förtroligheten) and Peter Belli (Journey To Saturn).

A husband and wife, Tobias (Edlund) and Ellin (Gallon), take a post-tragedy road trip to try and reconnect and heal. Deciding to camp in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of the night, they are menaced by some carnival rejects led by a scary old dude in a white suit (Belli) and a straw boater who come creeping out of the foggy forest.

At first, almost playfully, the gang mess with Tobias and Ellin, but as soon as the pair escape their tormentors they find themselves back where they started: back in the tent, but now knowing that something is coming for them out of the woods again.

As the loops build, the abuses and attacks get increasingly upsetting and Tobias gets ever more frustrated with Ellin whose awareness of the loop is slower to kick in. Each time they get tantalisingly and agonisingly closer to saving themselves but are then plunged back into an ever-increasingly terrifying situation that is like trying to wake up from a nightmare that is worse every time you fall back asleep.

Taking a well-worn high-concept trope – the time loop – that is now so cliche in the romcom that Palm Springs let it’s characters just recognise and accept it instantly, and giving it a horrific, torturous twist, Nyholm is a master of manipulation who has created a poetic and ethereal dream-logic nightmare that your hand passes through every time you think you have a handle on it.

Cinematographers Tobias Höiem-Flyckt and Johan Lundborg magic up an eerie dark fairytale aesthetic for the film that is all muted colour palette and mist, beautiful but full of worrying surprises and secrets, and this anxious atmosphere is enhanced by a stringy goosebumpy score from Olof Cornéer and Simon Ohlsson that lulls and sweeps before jangling the nerves with notes from a broken music box that will snap your last nerve.

Koko-Di Koko-Da is like Funny Games meets Groundhog Day. It is a gripping, and haunting looping storybook nightmare, with an unforgettable boogeyman, that you will find hard to get out of your head.

Koko-Di Koko-Da is released on the 7th of September on BFI player, Blu-ray and digital.

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