a review by the Azure-Winged Magpie.
ft. the Crow!
(ಠ ◡ ಠ✿) — 🐐…
Baskin is a 2015 horror film from Turkey that neither of us had heard of before. And even though some of you know just how much the Crow loves his Turkish films, he didn’t really seem very interested in watching this one. But…
🐸 — (ಠ _ ಠ✿) …shoo!
(Where did that thing come from?!)
BUT… I was told (by a fellow little birdy) that it was a totally awesome film. So I dragged his bum to the couch, and we went and watched it for our horror film marathon over the weekend.
Note: LOTS of reviews are going to follow this one because marathon-weekend was a big hit. And here we thought there weren’t any good horror films left for us to review for this year’s horror month…
So we watched it, and…
Okay. WTF did we just watch…?!
A Plot Overview… kinda
WARNING: This section contains SORTA MODERATE, SORTA MAJOR…?! spoilers.
Now that Auntie-Magpie’s been well fed, let’s talk about the story of Baskin, which Google Translate says means ‘Dominant’ and doesn’t make anything even a tit clearer… If I can even figure out if there IS a story I can talk about without going into ALL THE SPOILERS!
Note: Because of how the film is set-up, this section’s going to be pretty long. This one takes a good long while to get revved-up and ready to go. 🐸
So… a little boy wakes up one night.
And he wakes up cause he can hear his parents bumpin’ the ol’ uglies.
(.◔ _ ◔.✿) …ooo-kay
So he walks up to their room. And then: SILENCE! The kid waddles 🐸 off and walks about a bit, and then shit hits the fan with spooks and dooks. The screen goes all red and a creepy hand reaches out for him from the edge of the shot before the scene cuts out.
(◔ _ ◔✿) …riiight
And then we’re at a kebab shop/caff. A few POLIS officers are hanging about, nomming kebabs (stop.thinking.about.kebabs.Magpie) and having a bit of Spanish-footy banter. A random mysterious figure shows up and hands over some raw meat, which the guy in the back starts cooking (see up above). Like guys always do, they end up talking about hanky-panky. sigh… boys, amirite?! Whaaat? Don’t look at me…
There’s some chinwagging about diddling… chickens. (O _ O✿) and a story about a hooker with a penis, and I’m sat here wondering where this is going. A fight breaks out between the POLIS and the server. One of the POLIS officers has been nursing a headache all night long and he goes into the toilets to throw up. He sees a 🐸 frog (I’ll get to this down below), and then sees the random mysterious figure who’s standing behind him, but he starts screaming anyway.
The POLIS get him out, but he seems fine. He just had an episode is all (stay off the magic puff geez).
By this point, we kinda know that our POLIS boys aren’t exactly the nicest bunch of guys. You’ve got Yavuz (Muharrem Bayrak), who’s a nuclear-grade dick. Apo (Fatih Dokgöz) and Seyfi (Sabahattin Yakut), who’re alright. Chief Remzi (Ergun Kuyucu), who’s a little nicer. And finally, the new kid on the block: the very boy-scout-y Arda (Gorkem Kasal), who’s a starry-eyed bae.
Seyfi tells them he’s alright to drive, and the 🐸 POLIS roll out. On the way to wherever, some singing along with the radio happens, before they get radioed into action! There’s something going down in a place called Inceagac, and the POLIS have to be there, stat! Oh yeah! Let’s FINALLY go places! I mean… this happens like TWENTY minutes into the film. That’s a LONG time to just wait around.
And… we’re still stuck with nothing major happening. A naked person runs across the road they’re on. They get out to check. But when they do, they see no one there. They spot some marks scratched into the side of their POLIS van, and see a lot of froggies jumping about 🐸🐸🐸 (those damn froggies again!)
They get back in since nothing’s really happened apart from the strange marks (which I bet POLIS insurance is going to get on top of). And they keep driving. And… they run some muppet on the street over.
(O _ O✿) !
And after smacking into this muppet, they end up rolling into a ditch.
At the kebab shop/caff, Arda’s telling Remzi about this pact he made with a friend of his back when he was a kid. It was one of those “HAI. IF I DED FIRST, I COME TO VISIT YOU AS GHOST. NO SPOOKS. PROMISE.” pacts. (What?! You don’t have one? The Crow’s fucked if I ded first. I don’t do no-spooks.)
He tells the Chief about this dream he had afterwards (this is where we find out he’s the kid from the intro of the film) and how his friend showed up in it to tell him there was nothing to be scared of. And guess what?! He later finds out that his friend dedded right after they made the pact. And this is a dream he keeps having every other night. Remzi’s been his “adult supervisor” for a few years a this point thanks to Arda’s uncle, and he’s the only one Arda’s ever told. It’s all very character-building and everything, and I want to know what this has to do with what should’ve happened since the film began HALF AN HOUR AGO! But… nah. 🐸 Not yet. We get more talking first.
Remzi’s listening, but he’s also not really listening. He starts to tell Arda something that he says he wishes he’d told Arda from the moment they were first introduced. I thought whatever he had to say might have something to do with Arda’s ded parents, but I was wrong. Remzi gets Arda to concentrate, and asks Arda if anything seems out of place, if anyone apart from “the guys” is there at the place.
And that’s when Arda sees the random mysterious figure! He’s still here!
And this is kinda where we start to get into the REAL spooks and dooks (after ANOTHER ten minute wait, but no kebab, this time).
Executions and “the” Execution
Right. So first up, let’s talk about how the film looks. It looks GREAT. The Crow showed me some bits and bobs of the Z-grade Turkish film he likes so much (Turkish Star Wars, which is coming soon to The Corvid Review! Turkish Star Trek. Turkish Spider-man. And the one which has THIS). Baskin is nothing like those films. This is one REALLY good-looking film, and it makes everything feel a little… claustrophobic and… distant (+1 awesomeness score!). Whoever did the 🐸 camerawork and whoever put the effects on gets a delicious kebab (on the Crow, of course. I’m broke as shit.) if we ever run into them.
I really don’t have much to say about the sound, but the important bit is: you can hear everything that’s important in this film. That’s a good thing. And that “creaky guy” who kicks us off does a good job with his… creaking. Everyone can be heard nice and clear. Good job, boom guy, I guess.
When the 🐸 music does come into the film, it’s mostly background stuff, and… it’s alright. I think the only real music “track” apart from the one in the singalong scene shows up near the end of the film. I don’t really have anything special to say here. But none too bad… none too bad. If a film doesn’t need music, why have it, right? I didn’t miss having music to listen to in this one.
The acting’s pretty good. But you know what? I wouldn’t care even if the acting WASN’T good, because the CASTING is perfect. Ergun K. looks like the cool character Remzi’s supposed to be. Muharrem B. looks like the weaselly little rat Yavuz is supposed to be. The guys playing Apo and Seyfi are just kinda there (the film doesn’t really give them much personality), so they’re okay, I guess. And Gorkem K. works as fresh-faced, non-corrupted good boy Arda because…
…oh, hi you lot. Where was I…?
Oh, right! The CAST!
The best thing about the cast (apart from stop thinking, Magpie!) is Mehmet Cerrahoglu as a character named Baba who shows up like two-thirds of the way into the film. I mean, seriously… look at the guy up there (he has his own action figure and everything!). If he wasn’t born to be in horror films, I don’t know what could be wrong with the universe.
Yeah, yeah, of course the actors also do a good job of showing off 🐸 their characters, but their faces fit the roles is what I’m saying. Like… REALLY fit.
The film waits until it’s about halfway through before throwing a big heaping truck-full of spooks at us. And it’s all gory and icky. But it’s gory and icky in all the right ways. This isn’t terror like the Crow’s so fond of. This is straight-up IN YO FACE horror. Even though it takes so long to get started up, when the doo-doo hits the fan, it HITS THE FAN. There are naked people running around with cleavers trying to get some meat for delicious kebabs (probably), ladies wearing goat skulls creeping around for a bit of rumpy-pumpy (I’m NOT kidding), and lots of body parts getting a bit of… surgical treatment.
The house in Inceagac that our POLIS boys eventually go to is dressed up really nice, what with blood and drawings and Blair Witch-style twig-dolls hanging about, but it’d be nicer if we could have seen a bit more of it. It’s all cool that the film keeps some things hidden, but I liked all of that sorta thing. Showing a little more on screen would have been pretty rad.
The dream-like scenes in the film are also pretty cool, so there’s another good thing there. The ‘underwater’ scene apparently was a lot of trouble to get done, but what they ended up with looks and feels pretty great. Click here to read all about how nuts making this film turned out to be. With all that on top of them, they did a totally great job of making this film as good as they did.
So… yeah. This is a pretty nifty-looking film. 10/10 for all the technical points.
Trying to Analyse Baskin, or How Baskin Broke My Brain
I still don’t get what the heck just happened.
There’s these frogs 🐸 ALL over the bloodyhehe! film. So we thought it’d be a good idea to look up what frogs 🐸 mean to Turkish-folk. And we really looked. (We even looked for frogs AND toads, just in case.) But we found sweet FA. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. I don’t know what those little slimey fuckers are doing everywhere in the first half of the movie. 🐸🐸🐸
I mean… they’ve got to be there for a reason, no? But we don’t get it. Why do the weird people who show up after the van crashes have a bucket full of them 🐸🐸🐸? Why is there one 🐸 in the toilet of the kebab shop/caff? Why are there so many 🐸🐸🐸 around where the van stops to look for the naked person?
But okay. Let’s leave the frogs out for now. What’s going on with Baba and the people in the house? What’s all this business with hell? What’s with these random “philosophical“ talks that are scattered all over the film? What’s with the goat-lady and her “baby“ (…)? What’s with the story about Arda’s kid-hood friend? What’s the business with the locks and keys? What’s with the meat? What’s with this whole “open your eyes“ business? WHY IS THE FILM CALLED DOMINANT (if that’s what it really is called)?!
Breaks my brain, those questions do.
I really really REALLY tried to get my head around this one, but I can’t. Even the Crow’s a bit lost I think, which is why he’s not actually showing up to help me out with this one. He said that the film’s got surrealism going on, but I want there to be something actually going on in this film. For the moment I ain’t got nothing. I get the whole time-skippy bit a little. I get that there’s this kind of “chosen one” thing going on, but I don’t know WHY. I guess I’m just going to have to wait and see if something pops into my head some day…
I’m going to go ahead and recommend this one. Baskin‘s confusing and doesn’t tell you shit about what’s going on, and it takes FOREVER to get going, but when it does, it’s a pretty cool film. It’s tense and savage (savage as in brutal) and has a LOT of creepy-scary things going on. It doesn’t really have any jump scares, either, which is a weird thing for a film of this kind.
As a film, it’s really well-made and has a villain I could get behind. It looks and feel great and has this whole thing going on where it puts US, the viewers, in places from where we can watch what’s happening like we’re trapped along with our POLIS boys in the house, but like ten steps behind. Just because of that, I’m totally down to see what else Evrenol Can (the director)’s got around.
The film keeps EVERYTHING unexplained, but gives us little strings (lol!) to flap at. I can’t really tell you why I like this film so much, but I can tell you that I do like it. The creepy vibes and the whole keeping us guessing thing does keep the film going. It kept me hooked (after the froggies fucked off and the POLIS got to the house), and from what my little birdy told me, it kept her hooked as well, so I guess that’s something that works for Baskin. The Crow wasn’t so hooked, I could tell, since he was grumpier than his usual grumpy old-man self, and that’s why I’m going to say it might not be for everyone.
I think it’s pretty great, but it’s not the best horror film ever. Go and watch it, though. And make up your minds for yourselves. I’d love to hear what you lot think this film’s about.
And on that note, I’ll let you lot go. Love you lot loads, go out and nom on some delicious mystery-meat (that might have grown on trees) kebabs when you get the chance. Like raise a kebab to me and Baskin both (I could really do with a kebab right now…).
Magpie up, up, and awayyy! BONK!
THE AZURE-WINGED MAGPIE: 7.5🐸/10🐸
THE CROW: 4.5/10
Here’s the official poster:
Oh yeah. I’m going there…