THE TOKOLOSHE (2018) Reviews and overview

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‘Where she goes it follows’

The Tokoloshe is a 2018 supernatural horror feature film directed by Jerome Pikwane from a screenplay co-written by Richard Kunzmann. The movie stars Petronella Tshuma, Coco Merckel, Leiden Colbet, Ramunasi Fhathwani and Natasja Jacobs.


Busi, a destitute woman with seriously repressed emotions, lands a job as a cleaner at a run-down hospital in the heart of Johannesburg. Desperate for money so she can also relocate her younger sister, she learns to cope despite the predatory and corrupt hospital manager.

However, when Busi discovers an abandoned girl in the hospital, one who believes she’s tormented by supernatural forces, she must also face her own past demons in order to save the child from the monster that pursues them both relentlessly…


Uncork’d Entertainment released The Tokoloshe in the USA on digital platforms and DVD on December 3rd 2019.


The Tokoloshe, unfortunately, falters towards the end as it makes the mistake of revealing its monster. Everyone knows that films are more frightening when the monster remains a mystery, and here it’s too much. The story would have been so much more powerful had we not seen the movie monster.” The Hollywood News

” …the milieu of contemporary South Africa is fresh ground for horror – and even if the creature that shows up at the end represents a slightly overfamiliar monstrousness, it’s an impressively unpleasant design (and not shown too much, though it resembles a slimier Pumpkinhead) and an imaginative depiction of an African myth about a child-snatching demon…” The Kim Newman Website

“For a debut, genre feature, The Tokoloshe is an accomplished effort, as its ingeniously well-made. Bar, the teething problems in terms of the pacing, Pikwane has done himself proud with this unnerving and progressive piece […] not only does Pikwane’s debut offer up spine-tingling frights, it features a well-rounded black female protagonist at the helm…” Love Horror

” …exposes a sort of national schizophrenia, as 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…” Projected Figures

“The film loses some steam towards the end, as Busi returns to the countryside and the monster is revealed, taking away some of its power to frighten us. But Pikwane infuses the film with terror both subtle and overt, and referencing how the old legends are bumping against a modern, unbelieving society, that the latter should really beware.” Screen Anarchy

“Beautifully shot and edited, The Tokoloshe is an impressive debut. But the most impressive thing about it may well be how well it walks the line between horror and social commentary. It’s too easy to get heavy-handed and preachy […] Pikwane and Kunzmann never lose sight of the fact they’re making a horror film first and foremost.” Voices from the Balcony

Running time and aspect ratio:

  • 91 minutes
  • Aspect ratio: 1.85: 1

Film Facts:

Original title: Repression

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