2016. Directed Can Evrenol.
Literally "Descent" in Turkish, Baskin is a surreal horror head trip with a stellar first act that slowly devolves into a high voltage violence experience.
Five morally ambiguous police officers respond to a call for help from a location rumored to be haunted. Their response is interrupted by a tragic auto accident that leaves them stranded in a strange part of town. Eventually they make their way to an old Ottoman police station where they encounter a demonic cult engaged in various rituals. As the officers delve deeper into the bowels of the station, they realize that they have entered Hell itself and their only chance at escape is through confronting the horrors of their pasts.
Evrenol's debut feature is an unrelenting nightmare. The first segment of the film is the strongest, taking time to introduce the characters and slowly inject growing disquiet that settles on the central cadre as they head to the doomed part of their district. The interplay between the officers breaks down once they reach "Hell", but each of the five do an admirable job, with Ergun Kuyucu and Gorkem Kasal standing out. Both the grizzled Remzi and the youthful Arda inhabit their ends of the police spectrum with panache that carries the narrative as it begins to quickly come apart in the final sequence. Mehmet Cerrahoglu steals the show as the Father, the leader of the cult, but explaining why would spoil the fun.
Based on Evrenol's short film, Baskin takes elements of Giallo, surreal, and torture porn to create a hybrid offering. What begins like The Raid mutates into a Hellraiser 2 scenario that ultimately concludes like a Lynch film, albeit a much more predictable one, and that is Baskin's greatest weakness. Baskin is a film that relies heavily on it's tricks, but rest assured, the twists are telegraphed long before they occur.
Alp Korfali does solid work behind the camera. Baskin is a visual example of the hell within all of us and it's physical representation is filled with dark, maze like corridors offset by blinding reds and yellows as the blood starts to flow. Featuring dizzying visual effects and some downright nasty makeup work, the brutality ebbs to the fore, forsaking the subtle cues for pure shock value.
Available now on Netflix, Baskin is a phenomenal debut horror feature. It is a film with problems, but these are mostly forgivable due to Evrenol's tenacity. He takes some intriguing ideas and then brashly overloads these base concepts with extremity to drive the point home in the final stretch. Worth a watch if horror is your bag, or if you're looking for a neat idea that has some misses among a plethora of the macabre.