Baskin (2015): Hard Hitting Turkish Horror (Review)

Baskin screenshot

Baskin is a film that could well give the viewer nightmares.  Directed and co-written by Can Evrenol (This is his first feature length film.) this 2015 hard hitting horror is a longer version of the 2013 short film. 

The film follows five cops who end up answering a call for backup at a local hotspot of trouble and disturbing folklore.  Baskin starts out paying homage to Scorese’s Goodfellas. In a direct reference to the “Joe Pesci” scene with the kid waiter, one of the cops upbraids the waiter for laughing.

It ends in violence.

One of the officers gets sick and rushes to the toilet to throw up, he then looks at himself in the mirror and begins screaming.  His comrades join him and calm the man down. As they drive away from the eatery, the men sing to a song on the radio.

A call for backup signifies a change in the tone of the film and everything turns decidedly strange. After wrecking the van, the men arrive at their destination and stumble into a Black Mass.

It is there that the film really takes off.  While there are a lapses in logic and storyline, the imagery is horrifying.  The acts of mindless violence, all perpetrated by the bald leader, is disturbing and not a little sickening.

Similar to Tod Browning’s Freaks Evrenol apparently opts to use actors with real deformities.  The decision  means that the scenes “hurt” the eyes, making it difficult to focus for too long on any of the “followers.”

There are things that, seemingly, make no real sense. The presence of frogs comes across as random and non-related to later events. At the eatery, where the van driver rushes to the restroom, a frog is in either a sink or urinal. The man is disturbed and he brushes the frog away.

Later, after the van crash, the police officers stumble across a group of homeless people. There is a tin bucket full of frogs and the ground littered with groups of the things ululating  and thrashing about. The amphibious creatures are disgusting in appearance and seem to generate a sort of muddy mucous that they slither and crawl in.

This appears to be a portent of things to come once the cops reach the building.

A young rookie is along for this patrol and his backstory is shown, twice.  At the start of the picture and later when the young man recounts a disturbing event in his childhood.  Evrenol fails to  piece everything together satisfactorily but overall it matters little once the police arrive at the “gate to Hell.”

The actors all do well in the film. Gorkem Kasal makes the rookie Arda a likable young man. Fatih Dokgöz is Apo the group’s leader who is not as nice as he appears. All the performers recreated their roles from the short version of Baskin.

Any lapses in storyline can be forgiven as once the film enters its second half all bets are off. The imagery is disturbing as are the horrific things the bald man does to his newest captives.

Baskin is listed as one of the first horror films to come out of Turkey. It is a splendid start and Can Evrenol has proven that he is quite proficient in this genre.

This is a 3.5 star horror film, it loses a lot for lapses in logic, but despite its few flaws, Baskin does its job. It is a hard hitting horror film that probably should not be watched alone…in the dark. It is streaming on Netflix at the moment.  Give it  a look, but invite a friend first.

Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

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