Blu-ray Review: KOLOBOS

KOLOBOS was directed by Daniel Liatowitsch and David Todd Ocvirk from a screenplay they co-wrote with Nne Ebong and stars Amy Weber, Donny Terranova, Nichole Pelerine, John Fairlie, Promise LaMarco, Ilia Volok and Linnea Quigley. The music was composed by William Kidd.

The Real World meets Saw by way of Suspiria in this super-smart, super-gory – and, sadly, super-overlooked – late ’90s slasher effort from filmmakers Daniel Liatowitsch and David Todd Ocvirk, released in the midst of the post-Scream slice-and-dice revival. A group of youngsters arrive at a snow-covered house under the guise of participating in a “grounding-breaking” new experimental film. With the entire property fitted out with cameras, their every move will be recorded. But when the house locks down, trapping the youngsters within, it soon becomes clear that something sinister is afoot. Scream – you’re on camera… Marketed as little more than a generic horror flick at the time of its release, Kolobos, far from being a run-of-the-mill slasher clone, has much more in common with the booby-trap stylings of Cube (1997) and the reality TV theme of My Little Eye (2002), which it preempted by some three years.

Kolobos follows Kyra (Amy Weber), Tom (Donny Terranova), Erica (Nichole Pelerine), Gary (John Fairlie) and Tina (Promise LaMarco), five twentysomethings who respond to a classified ad seeking adventure seekers. Kyra is the central character and the story is told by what she goes through. The group ends up participating in this experimenatal “reality show” competition where they’ll have their lives recorded 24/7 during their stay. Sounds fun, right? Not so much! As soon as they get settled in, their entire world turns into a complete nightmare because they start dying off one at a time.

The small group quickly finds out they’re not alone and ends up getting locked inside the home that has been turned into a giant trap. There’s no escape! All of this is shown through flashbacks when a mysterious young woman who’s face has been sliced and diced is admitted into the hospital in the beginning of the movie. There, the lone survivor is taken care of as she recounts the horrifying events that took place that led to her admission. The viewer gets to watch each member of this group get brutally murdered until there’s just one person left – Kyra. So, how and why did this young woman live to tell about this vicious blood bath? It’s all explain in the end.

The front of the packaging features the artwork you see at the top of the page and the back include movie details and list of special features. The reversible sleeve features some alternate artwork and movie credits so you have your pick of which side you’d like to use as the front cover. There’s also a booklet inside that features liner notes and images from the movie. The Blu-ray disc features its own individual artwork. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. Kolobos was given a brand new 2K restoration from original film elements. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition release were crisp and clear. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, talk about a movie that was ahead of its time because Kolobos is just that and then some. We’re talking 1999 here where the Real World was pretty much the only reality show on at that time and this movie borrows from that concept and turns it into a full blown psychological slasher that’s as gory and creative as the Saw franchise. Just like it’s been described but it also pays homage to Italian giallos a lot and it’s very well done. The acting was okay so it’s the concept that ended up being the driving force of the Kolobos. Once the house turns into this giant trap we get to see each housemate die viciously and there’s all kinds of blood and gore to go along with it. There’s also some cool looking makeup effects as well. Not bad for a $500,000 indie film. So, how did a fun movie like this get lost in the shuffle back in 1999? A found footage movie called The Blair Witch Project was also released so unfortunately Kolobos didn’t receive the attention it so rightfully deserved back then but now it will thanks to Arrow Video. Kolobos is finally available on Blu-ray and is definitely worth checking out.

Distributor: Arrow Video

Run Time: 82 Minutes

Rated: Not Rated

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (1.85:1)

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and 2.0

Subtitles: English SDH

Special Features: The extras include some audio commentary, new interviews with some of the cast and crew, behind-the-scenes featurettes, a short film, image gallery and two trailers.

  • 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 (22:10)
  • Face to Faceless – a brand new Interview with “Faceless” actor Ilia Volok (09:44)
  • Slice & Dice: The Music of Kolobos – a brand new interview with composer William Kidd (08:37)
  • Behind-the-Scenes Image Gallery (00:31)
  • Super 8 short film by Daniel Liatowitsch with commentary (10:06)
  • Rediscovering Kolobos – a short featurette on the 2018 UK premiere on the restored Kolobos (05:52)
  • Original Trailer (01:14)
  • 15th Anniversary Trailer (02:09)

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