Director: Can Evrenol
Cast: Mehmet Cerrahoğlu, Ergun Kuyucu, Görkem Kasal
Watch Baskin online in the UK: Sky Store
Baskin opens with a surreal and subtle pre-credit sequence of a young boy awakened by the sound of his parents fornicating. Unable to get back to sleep, he tiptoes to his parents’ bedroom, but is soon interrupted by a peculiar and ultimately fleshy creature.
This film is directed by Turkish filmmaker Can Evrenol, who adapts one of his previous short films about a group of police officers who accidentally upward themselves into the depths of hell – literally. The post-credit sequence sees a group of police colleagues stopping for a bite to eat at a local restaurant, but one of their group excuses himself to the bathroom to unknowingly throw up. Next thing you know, he sees a blissful frog lying in the soapdish – a frog that resurrects a somewhat cadaverous theme from Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia.
The first half of the film is undoubtedly subtle, with a sharp and uneasy sense of suspense that certainly keeps you on your toes. As these characters start to unsettle themselves, you begin to feel somewhat disconcerted with them as, the next thing you know, these characters delve deep into an unearthly world.
One of the film’s most admiral elements is its striking cinematography, executed by Director of Photography Alp Korfali. The stunning red visuals, juxtaposed with the ice-cold blue, resurrects the motif of Dario Argento’s Suspiria, while also paying homage to the likes of Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street and Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining (with another nod to the master in an unforgettable, blood-soaked scene). In addition, some rather unorthodox visitors that the cops meet along the way resemble a Eastern European gang from The Hills Have Eyes – mixed with a more tasteful rendition of The Texas Chainsaw gang. However, despite Anderson, Craven and Argento in the mix, Evrenol unashamedly (and rather wonderfully) pays his ultimate tribute to fellow Italian master Lucio Fuli by incorporating a truly gruesome and iconic eye-popping sequence, inspired by his 1979 cult classic, Zombie 2.
Another enticing element is the concept of dreams and religion. While many of us may not be necessarily religious, we all categorically dream – and it’s when the two are combined that things really get testy. With religion also comes the scruples of sex – be it active or inactive – and one thing to remember in the world of horror is that sex in a sin; a notion reverently heightened in this Turkish tale.
While Baskin no doubt pays undeniable and lengthy tribute to the great masters of horrors, it does somehow lose its grip of originality along the way. Although the film features spills, thrill and chills for all gore fans to enjoy, it starts to dwindle on the silly side towards its conclusion – leaving you somewhat unfulfilled at its anticipated climax. However, if this film had been made in Hollywood, there is absolutely no doubt that it would have been executed in a much more tacky and contrived matter, allowing you to appreciate and commend Evrenol for his artistic eye and extensive film knowledge.
Baskin is out now in UK cinemas and Sky Store.