Have you ever watched a Turkish horror movie? Actually, have you ever watched a Turkish movie? I have to admit that before watching Baskin, I only check out Once Upon a Time in Anatolia. That was a beautiful and melancholic experience and I highly recommend it. And while we’re on a subject, what type of horror do you think Baskin is? Shot in a country that’s rather conservative and overwhelmingly muslim? After all these question, it’s time to answer some of them.
First of all, this is not some low-budget artsy-fartsy movie that’s using a found-footage gimmick or some other trick. It’s a full-blooded horror movie in a vein of Hellraiser. Actually, it’s much more fucked up than that cult classic since it plays like a nightmare. With great production values and excellent acting, it makes a fine addition in the foreign horror movie section. It’s based on a short movie made by director Can Evrenol. I can’t wait to see his latest post-apocalyptic movie Girl With No Mouth.
Basking follows five police officers called to investigate strange things happening in an abandoned police station. It also doubles as a thriller and a buddy cop movie. With so many layers and a bit strange storytelling that jumps back and forth, you might get the feeling that this is some incoherent exercise in body horror. However, everything will eventually fall into place with a satisfying click. After all, just imagine the passion of the people who made this movie on just $350.000 and in 28 nights.
I love the fact that there’s not one single scene in daylight but everything is happening during the night. And there’s plenty of gore and gruesome scenes that are accompanied by a hellish atmosphere, everything that a good horror needs. And I know that all this feels a bit familiar but I assure you there’s something about this movie that makes it stand out. I think that if we discount the visuals, the atmosphere and story are those two elements.
Meet Arda, a rookie cop who’s just learning the ropes from his fellow police officers in a local restaurant. Arda has been plagued with strange memories from his childhood. After his parents died in a car accident, Remzi has been helping him and actually steered him into law enforcement. After finishing their meal, they get a call to provide backup to another police unit. They’ve ran in some trouble in a place called Inceagac…
One of the things that you will notice immediately is the quality of the dialogue and the freedom of thought expressed in this movie. I mean the police officers are joking about having sex with animals and many other things that you would not expect if you’re thinking that this part of the world is so serious and strict. The character development is next, with protagonists that feel authentic and morally ambiguous. Something that would play a significant role later in the movie. The incredibly heavy atmosphere is the final aspect of this movie that I would like to explore with you.
Director Can Evrenol lists The Descent and Frontière(s) as two major influences on Baskin. And if you’ve seen these two movies than you know what you’re getting yourself into. To that list, I would also add Martyrs and another directors’ choice Nicolas Winding Refn’s Only God Forgives. The pacing was just right, a bit slower to allow you to fully take in a certain scene. To become emotionally invested in the characters although they are a rowdy bunch.
The sets were very realistic and once the movie starts speeding up, fucking awesome. I don’t want to give away too much because this is an experience best had on an empty mind. Empty mind that will soon be filled with the living nightmare that is Baskin. Finally, my only problem with this movie is its purpose. Because apart from the strong visuals and interesting events that you’re about to witness, there’s little that stays with you after it. Almost like a nightmare. A nightmare that you can recommend to other people.
P.S. That’s not make-up on that guy.
Director: Can Evrenol
Writers: Ogulcan Eren Akay, Can Evrenol, Ercin Sadikoglu, Cem Özüduru
Cast: Mehmet Cerrahoglu, Görkem Kasal, Ergun Kuyucu, Muharrem Bayrak, Fatih Dokgöz, Sabahattin Yakut