Kolobos (1999) by Daniel Liatowitsch and David Todd Ocvirk

Director: Daniel Liatowitsch and David Todd Ocvirk
Year: 1999
Country: USA
Alternate Titles: Haunted House
Genre: Slasher

After being found in a bloodied state, a young woman under the care of doctors relives the affair where she and several housemates attempting to shoot an experimental art film only to slowly find themselves picked off one-by-one by a strange killer and must find a way to get out alive.


This was a highly enjoyable if flawed effort. One of the strongest aspects here is the manner in which this one slowly introducing the rather ingenious twist against the group staying at the house. The whole reality-show concept of the strangers agreeing to live in the house and have their lives together captured on video is a wholly enjoyable concept here, predating most of the usual suspects in the genre field by several years and comes into play nicely with the opening flashback holding it up as the hospital-set flashbacks to how everything started. This affords the film a fair bit of ingenuity and creativity which makes for a wholly fun setup here once this turns into the scenes of the group going around getting to know each other in this usual format, which provides this with plenty to like before getting into to the true slashing scenes.

This is where the film really scores nicely as the scenes of them succumbing to the various attacks are truly stand-out. Aided by an at-times incredibly dynamic visual sense that recalls the best gialli with the bright glaring lighting and visual aesthetics, the scenes of the house seeming to come alive and kill them off one-by-one are exceptionally enjoyable with the attack in the kitchen by razor blades springing up from the floor to cut a victim to ribbons, the exceptionally fun encounter in a locked bathroom with acid dripping out of the shower-head and the series of aftermath shots showing what happens to the bodies found here. There's also some fine stalking before the kills that take place throughout the house as well which manage to enhance the suspense rather nicely, especially with the rather fun idea of whether or not she's crazy that plays a big part of the film. With a nicely grotesque and imposing killer that's included rather well here with his curious nature about being alive or not, there's plenty to really like throughout here.

This one does have some minor flaws, mostly centering around the finale which really introduces several issues. Firstly, rather than getting any kind of full-on confrontation with the killer, their brawl is quickly swept aside instead and focuses on a brief battle that makes it quite questionable why he was ever so feared in the first place due to how underwhelming their battle is. As well, instead of explaining anything about what's going on with her psychosis and goes into an extended epilogue that never really goes into detail about what's going on and manages to entertain several questions at the wrong point of the film when it should be wrapping up. As well, there's also the unexplained nature of what the flash-visions of faceless intruders really means as there's little about it that is mentioned or explained, making for a rather confusing touch overall. These here are what hold this one back for the most part.

Overview: ***1/2/5
Filled with a lot to really like here and a few minor questionable issues stemming from not being able to answer some nagging questions, there's a rather enjoyable tone and feel here. This is highly recommended to those that appreciate these kinds of enjoyable throwback slashers or curious about its reputation, while those looking for something different from this style beyond the similar titles from this period should heed caution.