If you told me that Kolobos translated to “pure 90s,” I would believe it one thousand percent. Because, boy does this film perfectly embody the 90s in pitch and straight to video tone. What Kolobos lacks due to some over the top acting choices and overly digitally polished video aesthetic, it makes up for by way of gruesome gags and ultimately being at the forefront of a formula that would later lead to the Saw franchise and My Little Eye.
Kolobos centers around a group of young folks who take part in an anthropological study that places the group in a monitored house for three months. Each with their very 90s personality quirks, they prepare for the undertaking that is on par with the surge of reality shows that were released around that time.
Everything is pretty hunky-dory, until one of them is brutally disemboweled by a very big surprise of a booby-trap. This leaves the rest of the group trapped and scrambling to find out who is responsible, an exit and ways to sidestep the plethora of booby-traps that have been laid out to stop their escape.
It boils down to a psychological, hyperstylized slasher, whodunit that manages to pull of a few surprises along the way all deeply inspired by Argento and Bava.
This obviously had some direct influence on the nature of the Saw franchise and does a few things stylistically that were ahead of their time. For example, there are chunks of the film that play out through surveillance cameras. There are also some great gore gags along the way, one of them sees someone’s teeth meeting a porcelain sink in a very Giallo-inspired and wince worthy kill.
Despite the large amount of respect, I have for this 90s straight to video era title. I do have qualms with the actor’s approaches to the material here. Giant choices are made and while it does work initially on their “audition videos,” it doesn’t work once they are in the house, where there should have been more of a natural vibe. One character in particular is the “horror expert” who spouts off some “facts” that were just plain wrong.
All that said, Arrow put out a great 2K restoration from the original material and added a bunch of great features that explore this strange, and entirely overlooked little film.
Complete list of features includes:
- Brand new 2K restoration from the original negative
- Original Stereo and 5.1 audio options
- Audio commentary with co-writers and co-directors Daniel Liatowitsch and David Todd Ocvirk
- Real World Massacre: The Making of Kolobos – brand new featurette on the making-of Kolobos including interviews with Daniel Liatowitsch, David Todd Ocvirk and co-writer/producer Nne Ebong
- Face to Faceless – a brand new Interview with “Faceless” actor Ilia Volok
- Slice & Dice: The Music of Kolobos – a brand new interview with composer William Kidd
- Behind-the-Scenes Image Gallery
- Super 8 short film by Daniel Liatowitsch with commentary