Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Baskin (2016): Review

Baskin is a 2016 Turkish horror film. Directed by Can Evrenol and starring Gorkem Kasal, Ergen Kuyucu and Mehmet Cerrahoglu. This was Cerrahoglu's first acting role as he suffers from an extremely rare skin condition.

The film follows 5 police officers over the course of a night. Initially starting out as a tense meeting in a coffee shop, the group soon start to receive visions and leave the café to respond to a distress call. After crashing their van, they find themselves at the source of the call, the mysterious area called Inceagac, and are drawn into an abandoned police station. The group are then captured by a satanic cult led by "Father" (Cerrahoglu) and made to suffer in what they soon discover is hell on earth.

Baskin is a very stylish example of the kind of films usually associated with the French new wave of extremism (Martyrs, Inside etc). The fact that so few Turkish films ever see a wide release in the West gives it an instantly fresh perspective and the incorporation of native ghost stories and folklore is a welcome change. As well as executing an impressive level of gore, the film is also set to a gorgeous 80s synth based soundtrack that wouldn't be out of place in a John Carpenter film.

Much has been made of Cerrahoglu's performance and it is a strong villainous role that makes the most out of his unique physical appearance (like a modern day Michael Berryman). Sadly, the same can't be said of his occultist minions who tend to take on a much more generic design as the film goes a bit "House of 1000 corpses" towards the end. The initial tension and intrigue also tends to dissipate towards the end of the film as the horror clichés start to mount, but there are still a myriad of graphic ways for our protagonists to meet their end at the hands of Father.

An impressive feature length debut for Evrenol and a sign that things are changing in Turkish cinema, a country previously known for it's hilariously bad knockoffs of films like Rambo and Star Wars. Hopefully we'll see more roles for Cerrahoglu too as his unique look and charm can certainly be returned to in future films. A good step forward in the evolution of Turkish horror.

*** 3 Stars

What did you think of Baskin? Have you seen any other Turkish movies?


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