Movie: The Origin – Madam Koi-Koi
Release Date: November 7, 2023
Director: Jay Franklyn Jituboh
Runtime: 1 hour, 30 minutes (average per part)
“The Origin: Madam Koi-Koi” ventures into the eerie corridors of Nigerian boarding school folklore, weaving a narrative around the haunting legend of Madam Koi-Koi. Directed by Jay Franklyn Jituboh and released on November 7, 2023, this two-part series delves into the horror genre with a nostalgic nod to the past.
Setting and Period Authenticity:
The story unfolds primarily in the ’90s, with occasional glimpses into the ’70s. This temporal choice serves the narrative well, tapping into the essence of Nigerian boarding school culture and superstitions. The backdrop of a school facing historical challenges, mirroring the real-life takeover of Nigerian mission schools, adds depth to the setting.
Amanda (Martha Ehinome) and her mother (Bolaji Ogunmola) move to Malomo in 1991, following her mother’s job loss. Amanda’s ominous feelings about her new school intensify as she encounters the ‘popular kids’ and befriends Edna (Nene Nwanyo), who warns her to stay away from them. The plot takes a dark turn as history repeats itself with a horrifying incident involving Ibukun (Ejiro Onajaife) and four boys. Madam Koi-Koi emerges as a mysterious force, introducing an element of vigilante justice.
One of the strengths of “The Origin” lies in its ability to keep viewers guessing about the true villain of the story. The ambiguity surrounding Madam Koi-Koi’s actions raises questions about her role, while the motives of other characters, including Mother Superior (Ireti Doyle) and Lashe’s gang, add layers to the narrative. The film skillfully maintains suspense by leaving the viewers questioning who the actual antagonist is.
Nostalgia and Cultural References:
For African audiences, especially those who experienced boarding school life, “The Origin” offers a nostalgic trip down memory lane. The portrayal of boarding house motifs, such as “Lights Out” and the dynamics between seniors and juniors, resonates with authenticity. The narrative intelligently uses these cultural elements to shed light on aspects of the past that may not have been as healthy as they seemed.
Social Commentary on Abuse:
The series courageously tackles the profound issue of sexual abuse within society. The writers deftly weave a horror story around the dark depths of abuse, addressing power dynamics, favoritism, and hazing prevalent in boarding schools. The juxtaposition of Madam Koi-Koi’s vigilantism with the abuse narrative adds a thought-provoking layer to the storyline.
The young actors, particularly Iremide Adeoye, deliver compelling performances, capturing the emotional depth of their characters. Ireti Doyle stands out as Mother Superior, portraying a complex character torn between protecting the school’s reputation and confronting disturbing truths.
The cinematography stands out, creating a visually engaging experience. The use of lighting, coloring, and music contributes to the atmospheric tension, although the horror elements may not have fully materialized in the first chapter.
While the series effectively builds suspense, the horror aspect is yet to reach its peak in the first chapter. Some viewers may find the explicit portrayal of sexual violence discomforting, questioning the balance in handling sensitive subjects.
“The Origin: Madam Koi-Koi” successfully combines horror with social commentary, creating a narrative that is both chilling and thought-provoking. With its cultural references, nostalgic elements, and compelling storyline, the series captivates audiences, making the wait for the second part an eagerly anticipated experience.
Rating: 8/10 “The Origin: Madam Koi-Koi” offers a unique blend of horror and societal reflection, making it a noteworthy addition to Nigerian cinema.
Note: Viewer discretion is advised due to the explicit content.