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Saturday, October 13, 2018


(Kwande Nkosi)

The Tokoloshe, directed by Jerome Pikwane and starting Petronella Tshuma (Rhythm City, Scandal!), opens at cinemas countrywide on November 2, 2018.

The chilling film has generated much interest at fantasy and horror festivals around the world. It had its European premiere at Frightfest in London, the UK’s largest international horror film festival. Known as the ‘dark heart of film’, the festival showcases the best and most exciting horror from around the globe.

Frightfest reviewer Kat Hughes said, “It’s a slow-building supernatural story that teases the scares as the film unfolds. It’s not a jump-scare fest like a lot of Hollywood movies, it’s much more sophisticated and intellectual … It perfectly conveys that fear of the dark that you felt as a child, and works as a brilliant homage to A Nightmare on Elm Street.”

On Projected Figures, a site dedicated to horror and fantasy films, Anton Bitel wrote, “The Tokoloshe turns local legend into allegory of state (and mental state), showing a South Africa full of the marginalised, the overlooked and the forgotten … the tokoloshe, both metaphorical malaise and eventually literal, reified beast, continues prodding at open wounds yet to be cauterised, and stealing away the innocence of childhood itself. Canny viewers will not be surprised by the film’s subtly telegraphed twist, but Pikwane wisely reveals it in an understated fashion, leaving viewers to reconcile the spectres that they have seen with the underlying, horrific events that they must in part imagine.”

The South African film, an imaginative depiction of a myth about a terrifying predator, tells the story of Busi (Tshuma), a young woman who is desperate for money and takes a cleaning job at a rundown hospital. There she befriends a young girl, Gracie (Kwande Nkosi), who believes she is being terrorised by a supernatural being called the Tokoloshe, a diminutive, malevolent spirit with sexual desires who can cause illness or even death. When children start being taken, Busi is forced to ask if the Tokoloshe is indeed responsible.

Helen Kuun, MD of Indigenous Film Distribution, says the response around the world has been amazing. “The film continues to travel to festivals round the world and the feedback and reviews are wonderfully positive. This is one of the most exciting genre films of the moment, and we are really looking forward to the opening, which is timed to coincide with Halloween.”

The Tokoloshe, which has already seen several international sales, was funded by the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) and M-Net Movies and will be released by Indigenous Film Distribution.