In Nigeria, boarding school is meant to be the time you discover yourself, living on your own terms, without your family for the first time. Unless you’re among those Nigerian kids bundled off to relatives’ houses to spend the holidays, almost everyone wanted to escape their families to boarding houses. However, most Nigerian boarding schools are not places for self-discovery.
Sad tales follow malnourished kids back home who were subject to extreme physical, sexual, and psychological abuse, not to mention mental scars from recounts of spooky myths. One of those myths that haunted and scarred students of all generations for life—including those who did not attend boarding schools—was the stories of Madam Koi Koi.
Whatever the reason, the stories have been crying out for a scary adaptation, and who stepped up to the task? Nigerian Filmmaker and Director, Jay Franklyn Jituboh. It’s like a remake of the classic “I Spit on Your Grave” horror movie by Steven R. Monroe, but with a touch of supernatural and less gore.
The Origin: Madam Koi Koi Movie – Plot
Set over the span of three decades in Malomo village, the movie follows Amanda (Martha Ehinome), a secondary school student as she tries to navigate her new life at a new boarding school that she loathed the moment she stepped foot on. Something is weirdly sinister about this new school and Amanda cannot place a finger on it. She’s having recurrent nightmares of a woman with only one shoe and a mangled face trying to harm her. Brushing it off as nothing more than a nightmare, she instead focuses on confronting three of the school’s golden boys/bullies head-on, but she soon discovers that there are more horrific things lurking around than your schoolmate’s verbal onslaughts in Chemistry class.
Lashe (Chuks Joseph), Idowu (Iremide Adeoye), Tokunbo (Kevin T. Solomon), and Ejiro (Ejiro Onojaife), are all golden students of the school, and apparently, their academic excellence and success representing the school in competitions benefit the school by the way of reputation. As a result, the boys always walk unpunished for crimes and allegations leveled against them. Their true characters as bullies and gang rapists are unknown to anyone, except for Edna (Nene Nwanyo) who is quick to let Amanda know the boys aren’t to be trusted.
Mother Superior (Ireti Doyle), the snooty school headmistress labors over Father John’s incessant pressures to ensure the school was run by them, and the State Education Board’s determination to take control of the school. All the while, she enables the four boys. She disregards any accusations against them, denounces rumors of students missing, and forces Amanda to study with them after one of the boys was declared missing.
Meanwhile, a decade earlier in the movie’s first installment, one of the school teachers Sister Rosemary (Omowunmi Dada) was raped, gruesomely beaten, and left to die by three men who ambushed her along a bush track. Subsequently, we’re made privy to another woman who was equally killed in the same forest a decade before Sister Rosemary was murdered. The innocent woman was hung on a tree as a witch and cursed for killing her children, who we will later learn died from sickle cell disease. Before Sister Rosemary dies, the vengeful spirit of the woman possesses her body.
What follows is a series of deaths, the unraveling of mysteries, anarchic brutality, and a haunting that’ll shock three generations.
Our Thoughts on This Movie?
What the Madam Koi Koi movie lacked in blood and gore, it made up for in tension. The movie may have not been as gripping as the tales of Madam Koi Koi we all heard growing up. We might not have graphically seen body horror, but every heart-pounding scene was painstakingly visceral in its own way. And the movie’s storyline is surprisingly unsettling. It creates an effective feeling of dread as the apparition lurks and stalks unsuspecting victims in the bush.
There were several moments throughout the Madam Koi Koi movie where you feel the violence is coming even before it does, but it never comes. This was a major drawback because the myths surrounding Madam Koi Koi were violent ones. Most of the audiences expected the filmmakers to creatively reimagine these stories in such a way that they accurately portray the horrors that haunted them for decades.
In all the killing scenes, the way the camera kept cutting back to something seemingly inane as all of the victims screamed in pain was downright annoying. With every cut, the film was practically shouting what was about to happen, but we didn’t get to see them happen. Rather than let the audience soak in the moment of pure terror, the filmmakers make it snappy; dulling its impact.
This two-part film reminiscent of the work of top Hollywood horror filmmakers, is available for streaming on Netflix.