First of all, lets get the only slight minor negative out of the way, Baskin has a plot that will leave you scratching your head in frustration. There I said it, so lets move along and mention the main positive about this film. Imagine if Dario Argento and Clive Barker had a love child and they grew up to follow in the path of the parents and became a film director. Can you imagine what kind of film they would deliver? Well you don’t have to guess anymore because Baskin is that film!
This Turkish horror is not only one of the best horror films of 2016, but for many years. A grotesque mix of surreal imagery and visuals that will leave you wanting to take a long hot bath straight after. Its an Hellraiser without its Pinhead, a film that will delight fans of the work of Barker, Argento and Fulci. Basically if you want to take a peek into what hell looks like, then this is the film for you, but be warned, you may not like what you see!
The film poster boldly states “Enter a world of suffering and madness”, and like all true horror films. this introduces you to the most darkest of places, an environment that will make you feel so damn uncomfortable being in. I can not stress enough by saying that the imagery on offer here is of the most surreal and freakiest shit, I have not seen for a while. Horror films of recent years have introduced gore-porn for the sake of shock, but Baskin grabs you by the neck and refuses to let go! You want to look away but can’t, your eyes being transfixed to the carnage of madness on screen. Suffering? you will be!
The film starts with a nightmare all young children face….hearing your parents having sex! The young boy awakes to the groans of pleasure coming from his Mum, before tipping its toes into what seem’s like J Horror (a mysterious spooky hand-cue loud screeches of music) before the film enters into a scene at a diner, which we see foreshadowing images by use of meat being prepared to eat, before vulgar talk between men about humans losing their virginity to animals and of course their conquests in the world of sex.
These men in question are Police Officers, coming across unlikable, who like to bully the staff of the diner who dares question their talk and if we are sharing this journey to hell with these people, its quite rare in a horror film that we are being offered characters that we actually do not like or perhaps do not want to survive this ordeal they are about to face. But then Baskin is not that kind of normal horror, especially as one of the officers runs out to be sick in a public toilet, finds a frog in a basin, while all the time, a mystery hooded figures stares ominously in the background!
Doesn’t make much sense? Who cares! The fact Baskin tries its hardest to be surreal and different is a credit all around and by the time the officers are dancing along to some music on the back of the Police van, you can’t help but sense the feeling of dread and doom all over your taste buds. They then receive a distress call, witness a naked man, more frogs, before crashing into a pond which at this moment, you either be loving or hating what you are seeing!
This is old fashioned horror! Not the slow burn scares that the likes of The Conjuring have brilliantly created to massive box office effect, but that of the likes of Argento, Bava and Fulci who created a legacy with their films from a long gone golden era. Baskin may be a Turkish film, but its roots are that of the classic Italian horrors and I can see this becoming a massive fan favourite cult film for many years to come!
By the time the police officers reach an abandoned Police station and venture down through its dark corridors, they finally reach their destination and here we get a glimpse of Hell and as expected its not a pretty sight. Disembowelled bodies, extras that look like Cenobites and of course the leader of the gang, a Pinhead type but without the pins, who talks and threatens before gouging some eyes out.
Why these officers deserve to be judged and what sins they carry is never really explained, but then Baskin is not concerned about plot development or really giving the viewer the answers they may require. Can Evrenol who is making his feature debut as a director, shows little regard in story telling but manages to fill the running time with stunning visuals and shows the knack for use of colour like an old pro. For the opening hour, he cranks up the tension to sometimes make us feel uneasy but then lets it all out, with a last half that throws in barrels of blood to make even the hardened gore-hounds look away with disgust!
The “dream” angle of the story tries to be too arty and fancy and never really manages to pull its ambition leading to a sense of frustration and bewilderment for the viewer, but fans of Hellraiser who have waited years for a sequel to that dark universe to come out will find more than enough to enjoy here.
Baskin is a nightmarish trip to the depths of despair. Its grim and dirty which may result in you wanting to take a long bath afterwards, but isn’t that what horror is all about? After years of found footage horror and endless remakes of classics that should never have been attempted at a re-try, Evrenol has grabbed an old genre by its slow beating heart and shot a huge dose of much needed adrenaline towards it!
It may not be for the fainthearted or for the teen crowd brought up on endless Final Destination sequels, but that is the delight of Baskin, its an ugly film, done in an old fashioned beautiful way.
4 Hatchets Out Of 5