2016, Atmospheric Movies, Based on a Short Film, Buzz-Worthy, Cop Movies, Disturbing Cinema, Feral people, Foreign Films, Gore!, Hell, Horror Movies, Intense Movies, LL Soares Reviews, Scary Flicks, Strange Cinema, Surreal Movies, Twisted, Twists and Turns, Visions of Hell 2
Movie Review by L.L. Soares
I recently checked out the horror movie, BASKIN (2015)—it’s currently available on Netflix streaming—which had been getting buzz in some corners of the genre. Not only is it an unusual film on its own, it’s a rare example of a Turkish horror movie making it to our shores. That’s not something you see every day.
“Baskin” is Turkish for “The Raid,” but since there was already a movie called THE RAID (2011) that has since become a cult favorite, director Can Evrenol decided to keep the Turkish name, which he thought sounded more mysterious. BASKIN is Evrenol’s first feature film, and it’s based on a short film he made with the same name.
When we meet the main characters, they are in a diner late at night. They’re a bunch of off-duty policemen: there’s Remzi (Ergun Kuyucu) the boss; Arda (Gorkem Kasal), the young recruit whose uncle was friends with Remzi, and who the boss has taken under his wing; there’s also Yavuz (Muharrem Bayrak), who’s a bit of a hothead; Apo (Fatih Dokgoz); and Seyfi (Sabahattin Yakut), who, when we first see him, is suffering from a severe headache.
They are gathered around a table, talking. About their jobs, about their lives, about sex. Yavuz gets belligerent and picks a fight with the waiter for no reason. The owner of the diner, the waiter’s father, tries to defuse things, but it’s clear these guys are looking for a fight. Meanwhile, Seyfi runs to the rest room to throw up. Soon after, he’s staring into a mirror and screaming, experiencing a kind of temporary breakdown. The boss calms him down, and Seyfi insists that he drive the van, as he always does. Reluctantly, the rest of them agree. Buy you just know this isn’t a good sign.
While they’re driving around, they get a call from a crime scene that needs back-up, and they respond. The incident is happening in a run-down neighborhood called Inceagac, which has a disturbing history, or at least that’s what Seyfi says. He’s heard nasty stories. They drive down a long, dark, tree-lined road, when something runs out in front of the van, causing Seyfi to swerve off the road. He swears it was a naked man, but no one else see him. But it’s clear something ran in front of them. Looking around with their flashlights, they see hundreds of small frogs on the roadside.
They get back into the van, but moments later they collide head-on with what looks like a person, and the van crashes into a pond.
The policemen climb out, and come across a very tall man carrying a lantern (Seyithan Ozdemir), who’s one of several odd-looking homeless people camping out on the shoreline. It looks like they eat the plentiful frogs (they have a bucket full of them). When asked where they are, the homeless people tell the cops they’re in Inceagac, and tell them which way to go to get to town.
They make it to their destination: a big, stone building that was once a police station in the days of the Ottoman Empire. It doesn’t have working electricity, so the cops explore the place with their flashlights. At first, it looks like the place is deserted, but then they find a fellow cop who appears to be in shock, and can’t tell them what happened to him. The boss tells Seyfi to take the man back to the van, but he gets lost in the maze-like building, as do they all.
Eventually, the police come across bloody naked people who seem to be doing disturbing things. Some are chained up, some have bags over their heads. Some are butchers, and others are being butchered. It’s a chilling scenario, and it only gets worse from there, as the police find themselves captured, and chained to the wall.
Things get even worse when a small, bald, disfigured man arrives who appears to be important to the bloody people (Mehmet Cerraholgu) —he is called alternately “Baba” and “The Father” in the credits—and he is accompanied by a tall, half-faced creature with stringy hair (Sevket Suha Tezel). The captive policemen are then subjected to increasingly awful things.
Did the cops die when their van crashed, to end up here, or is the building truly a portal into hell?
At key moments, Arda finds himself flashing back to his childhood (the young Arda is played by Berat Efe Parlar), or finds himself back in the diner, having a long conversation with his boss. One especially interesting conversation, that has deeper meaning here, involves Arda talking about a boy who was his friend as a child. The boy died, but the day before, he made Arda promise that, if one of them dies, the other will appear to him in a way that will not scare him.
BASKIN is very atmospheric film. At first, it took me a little bit to warm up to the main characters, since the cops aren’t the most likeable people, when we first come upon them. But Arda becomes increasingly sympathetic as we get into his head. By the time “The Father” shows up, the movie has taken on a dream-like quality (more like “nightmarish”) that will make your skin crawl. Wherever they have ended up, it certainly looks and feels “hellish.”
I really enjoyed this one, and recommend that you check it out. It’s strange and disturbing, and doesn’t shy away from the gore. But it creates a mood and tone that will envelop you in its bony embrace. I was impressed with BASKIN, and am really interested to see what director Can Evrenol does next.
I give it three and a half knives.
© Copyright 2016 by L.L. Soares
LL Soares gives BASKIN ~three and a half knives.