The buzz surrounding Turkish horror film, BASKIN, has burned fast and bright. Based on the 2013 short film of the same name, BASKIN follows a squad of unsuspecting police officers that stumble upon the coldest depths of Hell in an abandoned building. The still images, posters, and trailer we shared up to this point have all painted a sinister and grim underworld in which our story takes place. And I’m here to tell you; not since Clive Barker’s Hellraiser have I witnessed such a frightening and grounded personification of evil.
BASKIN has a lot of things going for it. Aesthetically, it’s superb. Its visuals are nice and crisp while disturbing imagery flashes upon the screen in vibrant reds and blues, the original musical composition feels right at home with a sort of melodic familiarity that would fit just as well in a film 25 years older, and the wardrobe… my god, the wardrobe. You’d have to press me pretty hard to find something I don’t like about BASKIN’s presentation. It’s that good.
The characters are decent enough. Each member of the police squad exudes a classic personality type that you would expect to find in a horror film. The limited banter and conversation between them feels authentic, if not completely necessary. Though some of the early remarks made do foreshadow later events… so it’s not for nothing. The most fascinating developments come from characters Arda and Remzi. They appear to share a certain bond that is made apparent somewhat early, but it’s never really expanded upon. If it is – I was simply too slow to catch onto it.
That’s how I feel about a lot of BASKIN. Especially in regard to the story. There is a LOT happening here. From scribblings on walls and papers, to symbols on vehicles, to backhanded comments made between characters – I feel as if I missed the larger story or explanation that is being told here. I’m confident that there’s enough information spread throughout the film to put it all together if I had the time, but the fact is, I don’t. And someone looking to get in and out of BASKIN may come out a bit confused. I imagine most will, but that shouldn’t detract from your enjoyment of the film. At least, it didn’t for me.
This a film unlike anything I can recall in recent memory. The very concept is wildly ambitious and wouldn’t be touched by most established filmmakers in the industry – let alone someone’s feature film debut. Director Can Evrenol can hold his head high. Any shortcomings that BASKIN suffers from lie in its storytelling. Even after a 90 minute expansion upon the original short film – I feel like I need more. And maybe that’s not such a bad thing. I feel as if Evrenol is just getting started.
Baskin is available on VOD March 25th courtesy of IFC Midnight.
Not since Clive Barker’s Hellraiser have I witnessed such a frightening and grounded personification of evil, but even after a 90 minute expansion upon the original short film – I can’t help but feel as if I wanted to dive deeper into the depths of Hell.