In Kolobos, five strangers are selected to be part of an experimental reality TV show. Sounds like every other program on nowadays, when reality TV reigns supreme, but back in 1999 when the film was released, it was actually a pretty new concept. Add in a booby-trapped house and a killer on the loose, and you have Kolobos. Directed by Daniel Liatowitsch (Avatars Offline 2002) and David Todd Ocvirk (Last Rites 2006), this film is a hidden gem that packs a punch. Filled with suspense, terror, and gore, Kolobos will leave you thoroughly creeped out hours after the credits have rolled.
I am a big fan of any film that can make me not want to be wherever it currently has me. Kolobos did this to me multiple times. It immediately immerses you in uncomfortability and disorientation. We meet the main cast – Kyra (Amy Weber: Transmorphers 2007), Tom (Donny Terranova: Waiting For the Sun 2002), Erica (Nichole Pelerine: The X-Files TV series), Gary (John Fairlie: Lying in Wait 2001) and Tina (Promise LaMarco: The Thin Pink Line 1998) – potential contestants who are all quirky in their own way. They also all possess their own motives for wanting to be on the show.
As I’ve stated in previous articles about films that attempt to provide suspense, this portion of the movie is imperative. If we don’t have a chance to get to know the characters, how can we possibly care for their well-being? We won’t be able to relate to them, place ourselves in their shoes, and inevitably be able to feel their fear. Kolobus gives us plenty of time to get to know its potential victims, and the payoff is massive. The second act of the film is an edge-of-your-seat thrillride that will have you peeking through your fingers and hiding under the covers.
Terror and suspense go hand in hand. Kolobos is full of both. From the unnerving filming style and terrifying villain Ilia Volok (Air Force One 1997) and a cameo from Linnea Quigley, Kolobos keeps its viewers stuck in its evil web from start to finish. Add in the booby traps in the house, and there isn’t a moment where you feel safe for you or the characters. This lasts until the terrifying conclusion where the entire film is turned on its head, and you are left with a sinking feeling in your stomach that you would do anything to get rid of. Personally, it sent chills down my spine when I was 9 years old, and still does at 28. The film’s gore had a similar effect.
Oh Kolobos, what sights you have shown us! Even with its limited budget, the practical effects in this film are top-notch. Rivalling the entire Saw franchise, the make-up in this forgotten gem of yesteryear is where this movie really shines. We’re talking bloody entrails, face slicing, and an ankle scene that will make even the biggest gorehound cringe. In the world of digital effects, it was nice to revisit the days where people’s creativity pushed us to our limits, not computerized images. Add purpose and mayhem to the carnage, and you get Kolobos, one hell of a fun ride.
With the suspense, terror, and all the gore you can handle, Kolobos stands strong years later. While it is hard to find, I managed to pick up a copy on Amazon. It was worth every cent. I feel an obsession beginning, only I refuse to feed it at night again. Sleeping was not my forte last night. I implore all horror fans to give it a shot and let us know what you think in the comments. You will not regret it!