Another film that I covered on my old blog that I’m thrilled to bring back to the limelight. If you like your horror movies steeped in Barker-esque terrors, Baskin is about to blow your mind.
I saw the trailer for Baskin a couple year ago and forgot the name of the movie. It showed a group of Turkish police officers responding to a call that quickly descends into madness. I tried a few times to find it but never could pinpoint the name. Luckily enough I got caught in the never ending spiral of scanning through movies on Netflix and there it was! Needless to say, I was very excited!
Baskin is the debut feature film of Turkish director Can Evrenol. Like I said before it follows a group of police officers responding to a distress call from another officer. On the way to the location the driver sees a glimpse of a bloodied man in the road and crashes the police van. Forced to walk the rest of the way, the officers arrive at an old Ottoman building. This is where things start to go very, very wrong.
The trip into the depths of this old building is very much like Dante’s trip into hell. As the officers go deeper things get darker and darker…think about Silent Hill after the air raid sirens go off and you’ve got a good idea of what it’s like. As the officers investigate they discover rituals that are being performed by blind or masked acolytes to a pagan god that lives in the lowest levels of this filth. It’s hard to convey how grimy and vile everything appears in the movie. Each level they descend is met with some new terror. Avoiding spoilers, I will tell you that you get to meet the father of this coven and he’s terrifying.
Baskin is almost two movies for me. You get the first half of the movie which involves all of the officers at dinner being loud, brash, and pretty unlikable. It makes what happens to them later hard to care about because they’re honestly pretty terrible people to begin with. The acting is over the top and the dialogue feels like it was written by a teenager living out their horror film fantasy. Where this section succeeds is the direction. It’s well shot, well lit, and the mood is set despite the bad acting.
The second act is where Baskin shines. The old Ottoman police station that acts as hell for the officers is one of the best sets I’ve seen in a horror film in quite some time. You can almost smell the rot and grime, feel the damp and sticky floors, and taste the blood in the air. Speaking of blood, it flows freely and does so frequently here. The practical effects are impressive, all the way to Father at the end (he’s real…..those aren’t prosthetics). If you’re looking for a movie that’s going to make you cringe while looking through your fingers, Baskin has so many sights to show you.
So, in closing, Baskin is everything I hoped it would be while being a disappointment as well. The first half of the film was a bore and had I not seen the trailer and known some of the horrors ahead, I might not have finished. Stick with it. The second half is surrealistic horror at its finest. It filters the hells of Silent Hill as if it is seen through the eyes of Clive Barker. Evrenol is a talent, that’s for sure, but he’s got to hone his art.