A squad of unsuspecting cops goes through a trapdoor to Hell when they stumble upon a Black Mass in an abandoned building.
“Hell is not a place you go. You carry Hell with you at all times. You carry it inside you ”
I was very excited to finally getting around to watching this. It had been described as the “Turkish Hellraiser” (Hellraiser being one of my all time favourite movies) online other reviews had used words like “Morbid Art” and “Horrifically beautiful.”
Needless to say I was giddy with anticipation. I also have a soft spot for foreign language films, with a number of my all time favourite horrors coming from places like Japan, Korea, Spain, Norway, and Sweden, I was more than willing to give Turkey its shot at impressing me.
Twenty minutes into the movie I was already enthralled. Great cinematography, good editing and solid characters. The small telltale signs and shadowy foreboding elements were so subtle that you could not tell if you were watching a horror, action, mystery or crime-drama.
I was watching a movie, not just a horror, which is where I feel so many movies utterly miss the point. The great horror movies don’t all start out as crazy, creepy, blood soaked gore-fests. The first half of Hostel feels like you are watching a rip-off of Eurotrip, and that’s what made it so fucking creepy. The fact that it was something real that descended into horror. The Birds starts like a romance, Pontypool like a drama, Psycho a crime story gone wrong. BaskÃ„±n manages to do the same thing here. It feels like some Nick Cage bad cop film that suddenly shifts gear in the best way possible. At twenty five minutes in, we are very clearly entering horror movie territory. At forty minutes, shit gets pretty dark. The downward spiral quickly commences thereafter. The cinematography was fantastic and the editing was A grade Hollywood stuff. The score is somber and beautiful; melodic and haunting without being pompous and contrite.
I felt that certain elements, especially the locals with their seemingly knowledgeable glares and creepy demeanor, were reminiscent of Kim Chapiron’s Sheitan (2006). Both films shared the same sense of foreboding and had mildly similar themes. The films evolved very differently though, leaving them with little in common sans their unsettling nature. Another film with a similar atmosphere is Lars Von Trier’s Antichrist (2009). There is a slow, unyielding insanity of a diabolic nature that slowly devours the protagonists. It’s the type of film that, if you are able to empathize with the characters, will leave you feeling unsettled and unnerved. This is not to be confused with films like Saw or Hostel, where the nature of the evil is the dark side of humanity and it’s punitive, selfish, narcissistic need for death. This is the other kind of evil; This is the sexual, hedonistic, grotesque perversion of gore. This is the personification of evil that Hellraiser managed to portray all those decades ago.
Now, this was not necessarily a perfect movie. We only get so many of those in a lifetime. That, and it’s always going to be subjective to taste and preference. The story is puzzling, yet not incoherent. The plot could be called thin, but the writing most certainly wasn’t.
We’re not given much to go on, but enough to use our imagination to fill in the gaps. I like the vague, bizarre plots from time to time as they mean I don’t have to deal with the gaping plot holes that usually permeate modern horrors.
I can therefore sit comfortably in my chair trying to postulate the intricacies of the story rather than deal with the contradictions and inconsistencies in lore and logic that appear so rife these days. Baskin allowed me to do this: I got to enjoy a good, well made and well thought out horror movie with just the right amount of uncertainty and confusion. It was a bizarre journey to hell and back with just the right amount of crazy.
We only get so many perfect movies in a lifetime…and this one came pretty close. A film I most certainly will never forget.
Poster and trailer below.
Site founder. Horror enthusiast. Metalhead.