ByPaul Donovan, writer at
A jerk with an opinion. An explorer of transgressive cinema. See more things about movies at
Paul Donovan

Since American horror filmmakers keep making the same four movies over and over again, genre lovers are forced to dig farther and deeper for a taste of the real stuff. If you dig deep enough, you will find the Turkish film Baskin.

1. The term "baskin" basically means "police raid" in English. And that's how you can summarize the film: a group of cops get called to respond to some trouble, and accidentally find a religious cult right as the festivities are about to begin.

2. This is the first feature film for writer-director Can Evrenol, and it's a very impressive debut. Stylistically, the movie is similar to Lucio Fulci's work, or even the 2015 indie film It Follows. But thematically, the movie is like Clive Barker on acid. This movie is hard to watch, but it also hypnotizes you so that you can't turn away.

3. This is a super surreal film that doesn't answer any of the questions it raises - it's up to you to decipher it. You may find the key, or you may decide it's shallow and meaningless.

4. It doesn't matter whether the movie is dense or hollow, you're going along for the ride anyway. And while the first half of the movie doesn't seem to be going anywhere, the last half contains the most horrifyingly memorable depiction of a religious cult that I've ever seen.

5. There's an odd scene towards the beginning of the movie, where the five cops have a conversation about their weird sexual adventures, and then bully a young man. It's main effect seems to be to make you unable to root for the cops as they continue toward their danger, but there are some small ideas in their conversation that seem to connect to what they do later.

6. The editing style was a good match for the violence. This is an extremely brutal movie, with some imagery that is kind of terrifying. But the camera will show you about 90% of what's going on, and then shift to something else, so that your sense of horror is constantly rising, but you are never able to precisely define why.

7. The movie shifts back and forth between settings and times, eventually connecting them in a blood-soaked Twilight Zone loop. This keeps you psychologically unbalanced, which increases the effectiveness of the... unpleasantness.

8. There are details about the cult, and its message, that make me think it's not a coincidence that it was released in America on Good Friday. It's both an acknowledgment of the original origins of Easter, and an infernal inversion of Christian theology.

9. This movie is weird enough and obscure enough that it will probably never become anything more than a cult classic for hardcore horror fanboys. But this is a new - almost sacred - version of torture porn, and will satisfy a certain type of moviegoer. It also guarantees that we will see Can Evrenol again.


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