Movie review of “Baskin”: The first feature of Turkish filmmaker Can Evrenol is a horror tale of cops made captive of a demonic cult, but with a couple of dreamlike twists suggesting blurred realities. Rating: 2.5 stars out of 4.
Are there worse things than working a night shift?
Not if you’re the doomed cops in Turkish horror film “Baskin,” a torture-gore blowout that rises above pure nausea with an intriguing blur of possible realities.
From an early, disturbing scene in which a hooded figure carries a bucket of bloody meat to a diner stove (we will see that figure again, in more hellish circumstances), “Baskin” suggests its story is really a dreamy loop of time and action. As feverish and dark as this first feature by filmmaker Can Evrenol gets, there is a sense that something larger is at stake — an elusive explanation having to do with a recurring dream, twisted destiny and the bond of a promise.
Movie Review ★★½
‘Baskin,’ with Gorkem Kasal, Ergun Kuyucu, Mehmet Cerrahoglu. Directed by Can Evrenol, from a screenplay by Evrenol, Ogulcan Eren Akay, Cem Ozuduru and Ercin Sadikoglu. 97 minutes. Not rated; for mature audiences. In Turkish, with English subtitles. Grand Illusion, through Thursday.
Not that an explanation would actually, well, explain anything. But Evrenol prods a viewer’s intuition just enough to subconsciously connect various dots throughout the film’s transition from jittery suspense to disembowelment-level bloodletting.
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An opening scene in which a young boy awakens to the sound of his mother having sex in the next room isn’t obviously part of a story thread that includes cops joking about bestiality and a mind-blowing moment involving a goat-woman. But on some level, one feels the linkage.
That boy, we instinctively know, is the younger version of police rookie Arda (Gorkem Kasal), who goes on a fateful night call with more senior officers — including Chief Remzi (Ergun Kuyucu), sworn to protect Arda — to an old mansion. Investigating within, the team becomes the plaything of a demonic cult led by a short but sinewy freak (Mehmet Cerrahoglu).
Evrenol pounds an audience with rapid cutting and impressionistic hints of writhing supplicants and cannibalism. The murky approach proves annoying, but once “Baskin” gets down to the business of pain and evil, seeing clearly is a holy terror.