Horror Dna Logo Header
Horror Dna Logo Header Right
Kolobos Main

Kolobos Blu-ray Review

Written by ZigZag

Blu-ray released by Arrow Video

Kolobos Large

Directed by Daniel Liatowitsch and David Todd Ocvirk
Written by Nne Ebong, Daniel Liatowitsch and David Todd Ocvirk
1999, 84 minutes, Rated R
Released on March 12th, 2019

Starring:
Amy Weber as Kyra
Donny Terranova as Tom
Nichole Pelerine as Erica
John Fairlie as Gary
Promise LaMarco as Tina
Simms Thomas as Dr. Waldman
Linnea Quigley as Dorothy

Kolobos 01 Kolobos 08

Review:

Five attractive young people answer an ad in the newspaper calling for people for an experimental film project. They will live in a house with all amenities provided under the condition that they consent to being recorded twenty-four hours a day. Kyra is an artist recovering from some mental health issues and a failed suicide attempt. Her sponsor at the halfway house believes this might just be the thing that gets her back out there interacting with people. She reluctantly agrees and is soon on her way to the location with fellow participant Tina, an outgoing woman with a big personality. They arrive at the house and meet the three other cast members and the director of the project. Everyone gets along and is encouraging and supportive of Kyra, but she is still having issues and needs her medication. Everything changes with the arrival of a psychotic killer and the house goes on lockdown. Can Kyra keep it together long enough to make it through this ordeal or will she be another on-air casualty?

In 1992, MTV debuted a reality show called The Real World that placed a group of young people in a house and recorded their every move. The show was an instant hit and ran an impressive twenty-four seasons. Following this success, other networks jumped into the arena with shows like Survivor and Big Brother that followed the same template. The format was ripe for picking and in 1999 the horror genre arrived on the scene with the independent slasher Kolobos. The set-up is the same as that of the popular television programs but introduces a maniac killing off the stars into the mix. The killer remains unseen for the majority of the picture, adding a bit of mystery as to who is responsible. Could it be one of the cast or perhaps the director looking to goose ratings or is it a random psycho?

Directed by Daniel Liatowitsch and David Todd Ocvirk, the plot contains an odd framing device that follows an unidentified survivor wrapped in bandages in the hospital. Once the patient’s identity is revealed, we follow their recovery and build to a twist ending that undermines the rest of the story. According to the directors, the material was added later in reshoots when the film’s running time came up quite short. Everything in the house is part of the original production, but the project only ran about an hour total. The added material is not as engaging and does nothing to boost the story. The screenplay written by Nne Ebong, Liatowitsch and Ocvirk is a lean tale that delivers just enough character development and exposition to get things started and then seldom lets up once the killer is introduced. The cutaways to the hospital scenes break the rhythm and destroy any tension created and it takes a while to get back into the action.

Kolobos 03 Kolobos 04

Where Kolobos shines is with its special effects and grisly death scenes, courtesy of artists Jason Collins and Elizabeth Villamarin. The kills are original and creative and spectacularly bloody. Inspired by Italian cinema of the 1970s and ‘80s, the filmmakers pause for their fair share of murder set-pieces. The giallo influence carries over to the overall look of the picture. Cinematographer Yoram Astrakhan (Dinocroc) gives everything a natural, almost flat look during the set-up, but unleashes a wealth of colors once the killer is introduced. Not all of the lighting is motivated, but it is aesthetically pleasing. William Kidd’s lively score keeps things moving at a brisk pace and in an overt nod to the Italians, apes Goblin’s theme to Suspiria for the main titles here.

Amy Weber (Transmorphers) stars as Kyra and is someone audiences will be pulling for. She isn’t really up to meeting people much less facing off against a murderer. Her performance feels a bit rocky in the beginning, but this can be chalked up to the character’s awkwardness. She comes into her own and makes for a more than capable Final Girl. The rest of the cast is serviceable as archetypes filling a reality TV show. There are no real standouts, but there is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo from scream queen Linnea Quigley (The Return of the Living Dead) as Kyra’s sponsor at the halfway house. She doesn’t really add anything more than a bit of street cred to the production, but it is always nice to see her on screen.

Kolobos is a fine tribute to the bygone era of slasher films and tries something new. The staging and central storyline are both rock solid, but the padding hinders this from being a great picture. The movie had the misfortune of opening two months after The Blair Witch Project, which changed the face of contemporary horror by giving rise to the found-footage subgenre. Audiences flocked to the latter and Kolobos disappeared onto home video. Over the past two decades it has developed something of a cult following and fans will rejoice that it is receiving the special edition treatment. The film works more often than not and is definitely worth checking out. If you are on the fence about it, give it a rental first.

Kolobos 05 Kolobos 06

Video and Audio:

The original camera negative has received a 2K restoration and looks fantastic. Grain is occasionally heavy, resembling 16mm rather than 35mm. Presented in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio, the picture shows off a lot of detail and features strong colors and deep black levels missing from the DVD release.

The DTS-HD MA 5.1 is more active than expected and I was pleasantly surprised. Music and effects cues are well-balanced and dialogue levels are free from hiss or other distortion. There is also a DTS-HD MA 2.0 stereo mix for anyone inclined.

Optional English subtitles are included for anyone in need.

Kolobos 07 Kolobos 02

Special Features:

The disc comes with a newly recorded audio commentary from co-directors Daniel Liatowitsch and David Todd Ocvirk. The guys are thrilled to be doing this and offer a lot of information about the challenges of the production.

In Real World Massacre: The Making of Kolobos (22 minutes), directors Liatowitsch and Ocvirk are joined by producer/ co-writer Nne Ebong to discuss how the project came together. They share their memories of the shoot, their Italian inspiration, shooting on location and working with special make-up effects. Their stories are informative and thoughtful and definitely worth checking out.

Actor Ilia Volok sits down to discuss his role as the villain in Face to Faceless (10 minutes). He reveals his approach to the character, acting under heavy make-up and working in the genre.

Slice & Dice: The Music of Kolobos (9 minutes) finds composer William Kidd discussing how he met the director and joined the project. He talks about his preference for writing themes of psychological terror over jump scares and acknowledges the influence of Goblin on his score.

A behind-the-scenes photo gallery of thirty-two black-and-white images provides a look at the work going into the production.

Superhelden (9 minutes) is a Super8 short film by Daniel Liatowitsch about a group of boys forming a rock band to impress the popular girls at school. Liatowitsch was only twelve years old when he shot this and provides a bittersweet commentary that reveals how this short in part led to his life as a filmmaker.

Rediscovering Kolobos (6 minutes) shows highlights from the 2018 UK premiere of the film, featuring a video introduction from the directors and post-screening audience reactions.

The original theatrical trailer and a 15th anniversary trailer are included.

Kolobos 09 Kolobos 10

Grades:

Movie: Threestars Kolobos Small
Buy Amazon Us
Video: Fourandahalfstars
Audio: Threeandahalfstars
Features: Threestars
Overall: Threestars

About The Author
ZigZag
Author: ZigZag
Staff Writer
ZigZag's favorite genres include horror (foreign and domestic), Asian cinema and pornography (foreign and domestic). His ability to seek out and enjoy shot on video (SOV) horror movies is unmatched. His love of films with a budget under $100,000 is unapologetic.
Recent Articles

­

Join Us!

Hit the buttons below to follow us, you won't regret it...