Visually arresting Turkish Horror.
This is my second time watching Baskin and it is a unique experience. There are certainly cultural codes that I do not understand, and the esoteric nature of the film is often hard to understand. However, this is a movie you will be thinking about for a long time after the credits roll.
A group of cops stumble into hell. Yep, that’s the basic plot. There is a lot happening with childhood foreshadowing, the role of religion, masculinity, and obvious cultural significance. I will be honest; I don’t fully get the film. I have seen and heard criticisms of this movie for that very reason. This is not a western film, and I think it is a bit naïve to think that it should make complete sense to me coming from a western perspective.
Anyway, the movie is fascinating. The police officers are not likable. They assault a restaurant worker for more or less no reason in the opening of the film. I have puzzled at why this was done. A lot of horror movies make their characters unlikable by accident, but here it is purposeful. The police must show their authority and masculinity, but by doing so they also show their inherent corruption.
Oddly, the scene right after the restaurant is one of the most endearing of the film. The officers all sing together in the van, and it shows their friendship and bond. Juxtaposing these two scenes creates an incredibly complicated view of who these men actually are. This is how the movie works, it will constantly tug and push at what you are meant to be thinking.
The storytelling aspects of the narrative leave a little to be desired. The film does not resolve itself nicely, and you will walk away with a lot of questions. Often, this is something that I would say is a negative, but Baskin somehow makes it work. It is a nightmarish and disorienting ride that must be seen to be believed.
The film sets an incredible tone, and the creep factor lasts for almost the entirety. The set designs help immensely. A lot of horror films simply find an abandoned warehouse and figure that is good enough. Not this one, the details on the abandoned building are above and beyond. Each frame is packed with mutilated animals, drawings, blood, remains, and so forth. They went above and beyond to create a masterful vision.
The makeup and effects are likewise magnificent. The beings that occupy the building are covered in blood, dirt, and have their faces wrapped in rags or barbed wire. They are genuinely scary. The imagery and horror of the film never stops. It keeps you in the darkest moments of the story for a long time, and creates an almost entirely unique experience.
Baskin is like a massive roller coaster for fans of horror. It is relentless and perhaps one of the most affective films you will see. The narrative has limits, do keep that in mind going in. Overall, this is one of the best horror films to come out in a while. 9/10