While horror films in Turkey are not satisfactory, Can Evrenol has undertaken a difficult task and made a film that could qualify for the “hard-to-watch films” list. It’s like a horror film, but not quite. It’s filled with suspense, as well as plenty of blood and brutality. Let me say upfront: I can’t say that I liked the film, but your reason for reading this article should not be whether the film is successful or not. Baskin, at least in my opinion, is definitely an experience that must be lived through. Because in Turkey, who knows when we’ll be able to see such a film again. It should definitely be watched and experienced for the tension it creates, the scenes that raise the stakes, and the Turkish-style brutality. Whether you like the film or not, watch it and join Can Evrenol’s magnificent tension festival.
Baskin focuses on five police officers setting out on a journey following a tip-off and their encounters with the “things” they come across at their destination. The film’s screenplay falls short, but the acting, art direction, and tension it creates are pretty good. The police officers embark on a journey to a place they have never been before but have heard superstitions about. The old, abandoned location becomes a nightmare for our police officers. This section was excellent, with gore scenes that rival American films. Likewise, the film progresses with parallel storytelling, sometimes heightening the tension and creating mystery. I will close the paragraph on the film’s story here to avoid giving away too many spoilers.
There are three topics about the film that I want to emphasize:
Firstly, I can’t say that I particularly liked the screenplay. Despite the idea of parallel storytelling being good, unfortunately for me, Baskin ended at the ritual part. Can Evrenol definitely deserves admiration for the style he attempted, no doubt about it. However, Turkish horror directors fail to understand something. The Turkish language structure can feel forced in horror films. Moreover, specific actions can also feel out of place in horror films. Turkish directors need to address these issues, honestly. After the sentences uttered by Baba in the movie, I lost interest to tell the truth. Unfortunately, the director, who brilliantly carried the film until that point, stumbled here. Another issue regarding the characters is that the screenwriters depicted the police officers as rural Turkish boys. This was a clever choice. Because it shows a good analysis of how Turkish people would behave in such a strange situation. There is no artificial conversation in the film like in other horror films. But Baba… Ah, Baba’s dialogues.
Secondly, I congratulate Can Evrenol’s art directors. They have done a fantastic job. I believe you should go see the film just for that. The atmosphere they created was genuinely excellent. The character designs, the ambiance of the locations, and the creation of bloody and disgusting things were thriving. I must admit that I observed the film when the police officers entered the zone. The interior scenes were truly well done.
Thirdly, I want to congratulate Can Evrenol. He did an excellent job on his first film. However, if he had paid a bit more attention to the aesthetics of direction, he could have elevated the level of the film even more. For example, the continuous shot at the film’s beginning has nothing to do with the story. It could have been done without that long take. Although it resembled a shot from the film Contact, it served no purpose.
Nevertheless, overall, the shots were good. I also congratulate him again for daring to attempt such a style and for proving what can be achieved if desired in Turkey. So, you know what? Successful works like this can be produced in Turkey if there is a will. Can Evrenol proved that to me with Baskin. They just need to stay away from forced dialogue.
Honestly, I went with high hopes, expecting a great job in terms of the screenplay, but I found successful work in terms of visuals. The story was left hanging. However, my lack of appreciation for the script does not make the film bad, as I mentioned before. I emphasize this sentence once again: Definitely go and watch it. Because you may not have the chance to see such a film again in Turkish cinema. Experience that tension, see those locations and witness what happens to the characters. It will be worth watching.
Cast & Crew
director: Can Evrenol
writers: Ogulcan Eren Akay, Can Evrenol, Ercin Sadikoglu, Cem Özüduru
starring: Mehmet Cerrahoglu, Görkem Kasal, Ergun Kuyucu, Muharrem Bayrak, Fatih Dokgöz, Sabahattin Yakut
TURKEY | 2015 | 97 MINUTES |