With a reputation in horror circles, it’s taken a while for Baskin to really make itself known on the UK shores. A Turkish production fitting firmly in the European horror genre, Can Evrenol expands his short film of the same name.
Called to an emergency, a police squad head towards a run-down apartment block littered with rumour and hushed stories. Inside they’re pulled in to horror as they become embroiled in a satanic mass with hell waiting for them.
Baskin is a visceral film. It’s got blood under its chipped fingernails and you can almost feel the moist, suffocating heat and the stink of corrupted air that permeates every frame. It often has the distressing feeling of a fevered nightmare, bolstered by the Giallo style neon reds and blues that drench the screen. So it’s telling that it starts with a nightmare, the disturbed recollections of a child remembering a moment that should have been a fond reconciliation, but instead turned out to be a terrifying moment. The film continues this fractured dream state in its form, flipping from tense moments late at night in a roadside restaurant before the team get the emergency call and their descent into the depths of depravity at the apartment block.
Baskin always leaves you a little unsettled, like something is off in this world, from the piles of frogs that start appearing, to the break of hysteria triggered by something seen off-screen by one of the characters. Into this world are our group of lawmen who don’t seem to abide by the law themselves, and though they have strong group interaction you don’t care for any of them enough to be anything more than disgusted by their fate. The film has quite a strong visual style but remains lacking in character and a strong plot.
But when Baskin feels like it’s building toward something - that you’re stuck in its grasp as it pulls you under, towards a place that you dread seeing but know you wouldn’t be able to look away from, a viscous landscape of atrocity in hell - it seems to lose its bottle. The plot and danger wrap itself up with convenience robbing us from the further horror you thought were in store.
Building up a steady and oppressive atmosphere, with grubby and disturbing sights, it does lose its edge towards the end, backing out when it should push itself over the cliff. There’s still much to be interested in but it can’t help but leave a feeling of disappointment.
BASKIN / CERT: 18 / DIRECTOR: CAN EVRENOL / SCREENPLAY: OGULCAN EREN AKAY, CAN EVRENOL, ERCIN SADIKOGLU, CEM ÖZÜDURU / STARRING: MEHMET CERRAHOGLU, GÖRKEM KASAL, ERGUN KUYUCU, MUHARREM BAYRAK / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW