Monday, April 4, 2016

A Turkish Film: "Baskin" an extreme nightmare, but to what end?

Baskin (2016)
97 min., not rated (but equivalent of an NC-17).

“Baskin” is a bestial Turkish horror film where horrific things do happen, so gird your loins, but in the service of what, exactly? Clearly padded to fill out its short-form source material—director Can Evrenol’s 2013 short of the same name—the film is still slender on story and then hopes to compensate with grisly, balls-to-the-wall excess rather than giving the viewer characters to care about. Filled to the hilt with splatter, grime and strikingly grotesque imagery that would have made Lucio Fulci green with envy, it is surely a waking nightmare that will melt your face off but hard to make heads or tails of a deeper point. In what could have been a commanding, bleakly effective tour de force, “Baskin” revels in the nasty muck and freefalls into extreme insanity without anything else to ponder after the fact. After you wash your hands of it, all that’s really left is a calculated gore-for-gore’s-sake orgy.

Five policemen, one of which is rookie Arda (Gorkem Kasal), grab a late bite to eat at a roadside restaurant. Before leaving, one of them picks a fight with a harmless waiter, while another becomes anxious and ill. Back on the road, they answer a distress call for back-up that leads them to hitting something in the middle of the road, getting in a wreck, and encountering a backwoods clan of frog hunters. They walk on foot to find one of their squad cars parked outside an abandoned onetime police station. Once inside to discover the horrors that await, Arda and his fellow officers find themselves in an infernal chamber where their fates are already sealed.

Written by director Can Rvrenol and screenwriters Ogulcan Eren Akay, Cem Ozuduru and Ercin Sadikoglu, “Baskin” (Turkish for “raid”) is batshit-crazy and inscrutable as it plays out like an extreme episode of “The Twilight Zone.” It gets off to a promisingly nightmarish start, opening with Arda as a young boy waking up to his mother’s coital moans and then being spooked by a zombified arm emerging from a neon-hued doorway. This is surreal imagery that wouldn’t be out of place in a Dario Argento picture, underscored by a phantasmagoric music score by first-time composer Ulas Pakkan. Before the is-it-real-or-not? gorefest commences, the only endearing conversation the characters have between one another is about bestiality and their “Crying Game” situations. With unproductively spent time getting less than acquainted with them, it’s tough to become invested in whether any of these Neanderthals live or die. Read the rest of the review at Diabolique Magazine.


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