If you’ve been just about anywhere movie related on the internet in the last few months you’ve seen the trailer for the new Turkish horror film Baskin, probably several times for that matter. It’s twisted imagery and promise of extreme violence has fans expecting a masterpiece. And while it doesn’t quite deliver that, Baskin is still a very effective and different film.
Starting with an eerie nightmare sequence before jumping ahead to the present as five cops sit at a restaurant having dinner and drinks and telling dirty stories. As the night winds down they receive a call for backup at a long disused precinct house that’s the subject of rumor and tall tales. After hitting a man in the road, (who’s body promptly vanishes), and putting their van in the lake they proceed on foot. Radios and phones aren’t working, the only folks they see out are some very creepy gypsies and when they reach their destination there’s an abandoned police car outside with no trace of it’s occupants. They enter the seemingly abandoned building and find a cult has taken up residence and is expecting them. To go into more detail would be to ruin things.
The film is not the hyper-paced bloodbath the trailer has you expecting, let’s get that out of the way now. It’s actually a fairly slow burn for the first hour before unleashing hell for the last third of the film. It does drag at times but for the most part does a good job of building the mood, from odd incidents at the restaurant to the strange happenings on the road. When they reach the abandoned building you’re ready for it all to break open, and it certainly does. While the film has frequently been compared to Hellraiser, (and occasionally Event Horizon), I actually thought it had more in common with Barker’s second film, Lord of Illusion, albeit a much more violent take on the subject matter.
The violence, once we finally get to it is nasty and brutal. There isn’t a lot of it, but it’s filmed for maximum impact. It never goes on to the point of Hostel style torture porn, but it’s on screen long enough to bring produce some wincing. It’s also done with old school practical effects which give it so much more impact.
The film is an expanded version of the director’s 2013 short, and this may explain some of the dragging at the start, it’s not always that easy to expand a short without some noticeable padding, but director and co-writer Can Evrenol does a fairly good job of it with minimal filler. And while the plot occasionally runs thin, his flair for the visual usual manages to keep the viewer from noticing. There are some great shots and brilliantly designed sets here, I’d feel very confident saying the early films of Dario Argento were a big influence on Evernol.
So, while not the film that the trailer had me expecting all this time, Baskin is still a very good film and well worth seeing.
Director’s Website: http://canevrenol.com