Directed by Can Evrenol
Feature length version of the 2013 Turkish short film about police making a horrifying discovery in an apartment building.
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★★★★½ review by nathaxnne walker on Letterboxd
When you are in a dream and sometimes know that you are in a dream and want to wake up from the dream but are instead plunged back under and into the dream and you are fighting and fighting to get back to the surface of waking awareness but every effort is in turn a turn away from waking and sometimes someone is there and they are saying something that if you were able to listen to it and hold onto it you would be able to grasp that which could free you from the cycle of dreams opening upon other dreams but those words were spoken and were heard and were understood within the dream so their efficacy even if received and grasped is within doubt and all of what is, what is said and what is ordered and what is enforced is a constantly broken surface tension, the seemingly coherent face of a soundless, roiling abyss, without measure.
★★★★ review by Daniel Rodriguez on Letterboxd
I heard that Eli Roth once said he missed watching horror movies that would make us think the filmmakers were insane. Baskin is such movie. It's a truly infernal experience, even though the trailer spoiled a little too much of it for me. For some reason, Can Everol decided not to further explore the hellish dimension, which is a shame, because the movie could have been a lot more insane. I always appreciatte horror movies with such impending doom, brooding around the characters. It's also refreshing to see a group of grown men as victims for a change.
★★★½ review by DirkH on Letterboxd
This film reminded me a lot of the good old days in which I would sneakily look at VCR covers of horror movies I wasn't allowed to rent when I was a kid. I can just imagine this sitting there in my local video store, with that cover and a couple of stills from the nastiness inside on the blurb.
The opening act is great, just a couple of cops sitting in a bar, eating and chatting. They're tough guys, but brothers in arms. There's also a clear sense of mystery and foreshadowing that made me excited for what would come next.
And then there's a lull. A lull that betrays the fact that this is based on a short film. In trying to set up and expand the mystery it loses focus somewhat, which is a shame as it doesn't really aid the great pacing of the opening. It tries too hard to give more substance to something that doesn't need it.
And then the messed up final act comes along, something it has been leading up to from the get go. And it is brilliant. It's disgusting, nasty and disturbing. Just what I was hoping for while looking at that VCR cover so to speak. I liked the fact that it kept that air of mystery intact, even throughout the final scenes, leaving enough to interpret as to what the hell (no pun intended) was really going on.
Fans of the more messed up horror films will find a lot to like here. It's not a perfect film, but it sure as hell has a lot going for it.
★★★½ review by Travis Lytle on Letterboxd
A delightfully unhinged mindbender of a horror film, Can Evrenol's "Baskin" is a striking genre effort. Focusing on a twisted and literal descent into madness, the Turkish-language film is violent, gripping, and satisfyingly crazed.
Revolving around a group of policemen who stumble upon something depraved, "Baskin" takes its audience into a hellish world too nightmarish to be real. As the plot pieces itself together, the extent of the policemen's deadly situation is revealed.
The story, with its tangled construction, is compelling, and Evrenol builds a dangerous and dirty world to support the tale. Shadows, grit, blood, and viscera coat the landscape and the characters as Evrenol reveals the intent of the narrative. The work begins slowly and mysteriously before tightening into vice grip where the film's demonic sensibilities are loosed upon the audience.
Chilling and memorably contructed, "Baskin" is both a refreshing and classically-minded piece of horror. The film provides a dark and blood-soaked journey through haunting corners of the imagination.
★★★★ review by fiffy_rico on Letterboxd
Awesomely nasty Turkish horror. Baskın does away with narrative progression in favor of dream-logic terror, riveting your senses to the muck, the pain, the insides — and, assuming you have at least some patience for formal digression, the focus on atmosphere and affect over plot succeeds admirably. I loved the long tracking shots, the blue and red lighting (coloring everything like a crime scene, yeah?), the transitions from one dream to the next. The influences Baskın cribs from are worn on its grimy, bodily fluid-encrusted sleeve, but I wouldn't accuse it of being a rip-off, nor is it insincere. The filmmakers use their inspirations simply as points of entry into the macabre; the first step to lead us down into their own particular vision of descent, of crisis.
"Crisis." Not merely as an emergency, as a discrete event. No, the pungent brew of social crisis suffuses every frame of Baskın — a heady potion percolating in the slums, whether the main characters can smell it or not. These five men, police officers, are easy to detest (even if your politics aren't as anti-cop as mine), as we spend the film's opening minutes forced to listen to their sexual boasting, and watch them threaten and attack an innocent young man. Their behavior is ugly and mean-spirited, but absolutely necessary for the consolidation of their masculinity. When their power ebbs, when they lose their monopoly on violence, crisis confronts them in all its transgressive glory.
[I'd love to know what's being translated from Turkish* as "dude" and "bro." These coppers sound like frat boys!]
*See Nat Bay's comments below.
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