Director: Can Evrenol
Starring: Gorkem Kasal, Mehmet Cerrahoğlu, Ergun Kuyucu. Turkey. 1h 37m
This surreal Turkish gory horror, directed by Can Evrenol, based on his 2013 short film by the same name, although in this blood soaked feature length debut he turns up the nightmare factor to full. Not running totally parallel it’s like a lucid dream within a dream, something more like Inception (2010) Vs Hellraiser (1987). While it’s not obviously as to what’s going on, the puzzle presented within Baskin is not something that you’ll be able to work out until the end, providing you have the stomach to get to the bitter end. There is a heavy handed dose of blood, meat, strange symbolism and a chilly silenthillesque atmosphere that is bound to entertain horror fans throughout. It’s crowning achievement is that it successfully manages to make you a passive spectator as this incredibly vivid nightmare unfolds.
There is a plot, which starts out straight forwards, a group of Turkish police officers are hanging out in the back of a cafe, exchanging dirty stories, until one freaks out after seeing a frog in the bathroom, but it’s clear that the film is about Arda (Gorkem Kasal) a young cop who kinda sits back going with the flow, he’s a little less jaded than his colleagues but plays an important role, as the plot twists in on itself and often seems to restart the movie, but it’s not a groundhog situation, despite Arda waking up in different stages of the film a few times, it doesn’t feel repetitive.
Like nesting dolls the nightmare repeats in more vile ways as the team of police head out on a call, assume they run over a naked man, and plunge their patrol van into a river, Arda has his first surreal encounter, back in the cafe he notices a dark shadowy figure and pools of black liquid, he’s soon pulled from the river, as none of phones work, probably due to water damage the group head towards an old building looking for assistance. As they delve deeper into the long dark corridors they encounter strange cult members in gimp suits, masks doing inhuman things with their own and each others bodies, as things get more violent and depraved, the survivors soon meet up with a deformed man called Baba, a nouveau pinhead figure who’s about to judge them if they open their minds to him, but it’s more of a Spanish Inquisition kinds thing going on. Arda has to regress back to the cafe one more time facing his childhood horrors to find a key to get him out of this blood drenched predicament but can he ever manage this in time or be forever lost in the maze of debauchery.
The filming was limited to night time only and it was incredibly hard for the cast and crew having (semi)naked people running round in Turkey where all of this behaviour would be frowned on even for the sake of a movie. It’s still been lovingly framed and religiously cast in vivid colours, most notable keeping to the blue and red often seen in the movie posters. It’s a pretty deep project, and at times it feels a little too personal to the director as some of the scenes go on a bit tooo long but apart from this it’s a powerful project not relying on jump scares and other cheap tricks but applying the bizarre and surreal imagery and ripping the reality carpet out from underneath the audience.
R: Hellraiser (1987), La Entidad (2015), The Void (2016)
L: Opening the Gates of Hell, Nonlinear movies.