Four cops are enjoying their night of low criminal activity when they get a call about something at an old abandoned building. When they arrive on scene, there's nothing strange going on - except for a fellow cop's car outside. When they enter the building, they're going straight to hell.
Odds are that when you think of Turkish horror, you're thinking about their rip-offs such as "Seytan" (shot-by-shot remake of "The Exorcist") or "Çöl" ("Jaws" rip-off). You probably don't think about their more recent titles that have seen somewhat decent reviews and ratings ("Dabbe: Cin Çarpmasi", "Magi", "Siccîn"). However, the new horror movie "Baskin" received a lot of interest thanks to a very promosing trailer, which included great atmosphere and violence. "Baskin" is the debut feature by Can Evrenol, based on a short film they made a few years back. Though I have not seen the original short, it's easy to see how a movie like "Baskin" would work in a short film format. Maybe it even fits the short film format better, but I am happy for the crew behind this feature that they decided to expand it, as this should open up plenty of doors for them.
"Baskin" takes place during four cop's night shift. They're not exactly on alert when they get a strange call about something that's going on nearby in an abandoned house. Rather, they're drinking, starting fights and singing in their police van. But when duty calls, they get ready for it. Nothing could prepare them for what's inside of the abandoned house. In its basement, the cops will become the sacrifices.
Look, I had medium expectations for "Baskin". I know better than to trust a trailer completely, but it certainly intrigued me. There's a lot about the movie that I enjoyed greatly. It's a slow-burner that takes a turn for the gruesome, the foggy night makes for a great setting, it throws you back and forth between reality and a dreamlike state, and it has some great effects. Unfortunately there are some issues as well. The entire story is driven by the fact that these cops are assholes, so any and all sympathy for them is thrown out of the window from the start. The plot, despite trying to be mysterious, comes off as predictable (with an ending you can see coming from miles away). The setting gets less and less interesting the longer they stay in the abandoned building (seriously, the foggy night was a great setting and worked wonderful on screen). And once we do get into the gruesome, bloody stuff that we've all expected, it's actually quite repetitive and boring. Not the effects themselves (they're solid), but what happens is just long and uneventful, and works as the opposite of the great, slow buildup of the beginning. So while I never went too far with my expectations, the movie itself built up a lot that I didn't feel it lived up too. The intriguing mystery sort of faded halfway through.
There is a lot that I liked about "Baskin" still, and it should serve as a great reminder that every country has the potential of making good horror. Turkey is certainly not the weird, thieving film industry it once was, and hopefully a movie like "Baskin" will push other filmmakers in the country to try and achieve similar success. While you can't expect the similar popularity like French, Spanish or Japanese horror have gotten in recent years, at least we can hope to see more Turkish titles releasing worldwide.
Whatever you expected from "Baskin", I think it is worth checking it out. It's a promising start for director Can Evrenol, who I believe we will see more from soon. It's nothing groundbreaking, but there's enough of a message in the story about four cops being thrown into dark and violent nightmare because of their own bad behavior to make it above decent. Though predictable at times, it's built on good ideas and a love for the genre. It's a little bit of Argento, Fulci and Clive Barker.