Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Can Evrenol|
|Produced by||Mo Film|
|Written by||Can Evrenol|
|Music by||JF (Ulas Pakkan & Volkan Akaalp)|
|Edited by||Erkan Özekan|
|Distributed by||The Salt Company International|
IFC Midnight (United States)
Baskin is a 2015 Turkish surrealist horror film directed by Can Evrenol, based on his 2013 short film by the same name. It centers around five police officers who have inadvertently wandered into Hell.
First screened at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 11, 2015, the film marks Evrenol's feature film directorial debut. Actors Muharrem Bayrak and Gorkem Kasal, who had performed in the short film version, returned to star in the full-length film, joined by Ergun Kuyucu, Fatih Dokgoz and Sabahattin Yakut as the five police officers that make up the film's main cast of protagonists. First-time actor Mehmet Cerrahoglu has received positive reviews for his noteworthy performance as the villain, The Father. Cerrahoglu suffers from an ultra rare skin condition which gives him his unique physical appearance.
This section's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (January 2017) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
The film opens with a boy waking from sleep in the middle of the night. He walks to a closed door across the hall from his bedroom and overhears the sound of a woman having sex, which suddenly stops. He walks to the living room, where the television is playing static. He turns off the television and notices a red light emanating from his bedroom. He becomes afraid and runs to the closed door, yelling for his mother. A robed arm reaches towards him from his bedroom. The door slams.
The film cuts to a deserted parking lot at night where a police van is parked. A hooded figure, presumably the same one from the opening sequence walks towards a building carrying a bucket full of bloody meat. The building is revealed to be a restaurant, where the only customers are five police officers, who are sitting at a table discussing bets on the Spanish Primera Division. A young man brings dirty plates to wash in the back of the restaurant, when he hears knocking at the back door. He opens the door, and is given the bloody meat bucket without exchanging words. It is handed to the chef, who begins cutting the meat.
One of the police officers, Seyfi, sits away from the table, nursing a headache. The other officers start talking about their sexual experiences, as the chef starts cooking the meat. One officer, Apo, implies that he lost his virginity to a chicken. The rookie, Arda, states that he lost his virginity at a brothel. Another officer, Yavuz, tells a story about his sexual experience with a prostitute, whom he claims looked like a Victoria’s Secret model and turned out to be a man in women's clothing. Amidst Yavuz and the other officers laughing and joking about the story, the young man brings food to the table. Suddenly, Yavuz asks the young man why he is laughing, and accuses him of calling him gay. The chef enters and defends him, saying that he is only a boy. As they argue, Seyfi runs to the restroom to vomit in the sink. The police decide to leave, but the young man says, “If only you weren’t cops” as they exit. Yavuz turns and resumes arguing. Remzi, the officer in charge, has the chef step aside and challenges Yavuz to back up his words by hitting the young man. They fight, and Yavuz easily wins. In the restroom, Seyfi notices a frog sitting where the soap should be and brushes it off. As he does, the hooded figure is revealed in the mirror, standing behind him. Suddenly, he starts screaming. The officers rush to him and prepare to shoot the restroom door lock before it opens on its own.
Arda and Yavuz have a cigarette as Ado tells them that Seyfi had said that he briefly felt like he was losing his mind, and that Remzi had helped to talk him down. Ado says that Seyfi has never had this kind of incident before. Seyfi and Remzi come out to the parking lot. Seyfi convinces the others to let him drive. As they drive, they receive a radio call asking for backup, is somewhere called Inceagac. Seyfi reveals that he has heard bad rumors about the place. As they continue driving, Seyfi sees a naked man run across the road in front of them. They stop the van and get out, calling towards the surrounding woods for the man to show himself. As they do, something unseen jolts the van behind them. Arda notices strange symbols suddenly carved into the side of the van. The officers then notice a mass of frogs that has appeared behind the van. They get back in and resume driving. The officers start asking Seyfi what he really saw, and he insists that it was a man. As they argue, they fail to notice a bloody person standing in the middle of the road, who the van hits, then swerves and crashes into a shallow stream.
The film cuts back to the restaurant, where Remzi and Arda sit at a table, while Yavuz and Apo watch television, and Seyfi sits holding his head. Arda tells a story about a dream he had as a child, where his friend appears to him in a dream, telling him not to be afraid. Earlier that same night, the two of them had made a promise that, whoever died first, he would appear to the other and tell him not to be afraid. Arda says that he woke up, but was still in a dream. He then describes the opening scene of the movie, revealing that the boy in it was him. However, he does not describe the hand reaching for him, but instead states that his fear came from knowing that his friend was in his room waiting. He states that the next day, he found out that his friend truly had died that night. He states that this is a recurring dream that he continues to have to this day, and that he had never told anyone else about it. We learn that, a year after that night, his parents died in a car accident, and his uncle placed him in Remzi’s care. Remzi then tells Arda something he wishes he had told him when they first met. He asks Arda to focus, taking in all his surroundings. Arda suddenly sees the hooded figure standing in the shadows behind Remzi, who tells him that this is the first time someone else has been able to see it. As in the dream, a hand reaches out. Black liquid starts leaking from the ceiling and seeping from the floor, and Arda falls backwards in his chair. Instead of hitting the floor, he falls into a dark body of water. As he floats underwater, a giant pair of hands reaches down towards him from the surface.
The film cuts to Arda being pulled from the water by the other officers. A strange group of people have gathered by the stream around a fire. One of them begins laughing, asking if the officers were in an accident. Yavuz demands to know why he is laughing, and angrily kicks over a bucket, which is full of frogs. The officers go to find the person they hit, but the body has disappeared. Seyfi and Apo notice blood coming from each other’s head. They note that their radios and phones are broken, presumably from the water. They ask the strangers where they are, and are told that they are in Inceagac. They get one of the strangers to lead them to a building where an empty police car is parked outside, with its lights flashing. He tells them that it was a police station back in the Ottoman days, and a stable when he was a child, but that is now deserted and avoided. Seyfi states that he had heard about the place, and echoes that it was a police station in the Ottoman days. As they prepare to enter the building, Remzi pointedly tells Arda not to worry, and that he has the key to all of this. Small ornaments crafted with twigs, some vaguely human-shaped, hang from a nearby branch. Seyfi tries to call out using the radio in the car, but it doesn't work. The stranger takes the opportunity to run away, cursing at them as he does.
The officers enter the building. Inside, another strange ornament hangs from the ceiling in the middle of a hallway. There are more around, and they appear to be twine wrapped around some kind of flesh and/or bones. They find egg shells that seem filled with blood. Apo vomits. They go on to find a man in a police uniform standing and hitting his head against a wall. He doesn't respond to their questions, except to point to a stairwell when they ask where his partner is. Arda, Remzi, Yavuz, and Apo go down the stairs, while Sefyi stays with the man they found. Seyfi notices a frog, which jumps away from him. He follows it to a room where he finds naked person covered in blood, with chains around their wrists apparently having intercourse with another bloody person with a black plastic bag over their head. Seyfi looks around and sees several more similarly-adorned people in the room, and as he panics, they attack him, forcing him to the ground. The man in the police uniform starts laughing in the hallway.
The other officers find a room with chains hanging from the ceiling, decorated with similar ornaments to before, with blood and grotesque drawings on the walls. There is a table in the middle with lit candles around several padlocks. Apo notices another room where bloody bodies wrapped in clear plastic are hanging from the ceiling, and others wrapped in chains around black plastic line the walls. There is also a cage with a blood-covered woman inside. Meanwhile, Arda follows a streak of blood on the floor to a different room, where he sees dozens of bodies wrapped in blood-stained sheets on the floor and hanging from the ceiling. On one side of the room, a woman with a butcher knife is cutting up a body and throwing entrails into a bucket. To their right appears to be people copulating behind a hanging plastic sheet. As he realizes what he is seeing, Arda begins trembling in fear. In the other room, Apo reaches out towards the woman in the cage, while behind him, one of the bodies by the wall begins to move, then hits him over the head with a sledgehammer. He falls to the ground unconscious. Yavuz sees this and starts screaming, and runs away. The yelling is heard by Arda, and also the people in the room with him, who are revealed to be blindfolded. We see that one of the people behind the plastic sheet is hanging from the ceiling, and has had both legs cut off, at the waist and above the knee, respectively. The people run towards Arda, who panics and shoots wildly at the walls and ceiling as he runs away. Remzi, Arda, and Yavuz run down a hallway, pursued by the blindfolded people who pursue them on all fours. Yavuz falls down and is dragged away. As Arda keeps running, Remzi disappears from behind him. The walls are suddenly made of stone bricks and the floor is dirt. Suddenly Arda finds himself in his childhood house, just outside his bedroom. He sees his childhood self pulled into the room by the robed arm from the opening dream sequence.
The film jumps back to the restaurant, where Arda is choking on water from a glass. Remzi tells him that they have a long way to go. Arda asks what is going on. Remzi’s answer is vague. He tells Arda that not everything has a clear answer, but that tonight they are at a crossroads. He says that they were summoned there tonight, and there was no call for backup. He says that someone is looking for something, and this has been happening to Arda ever since he was a child. Arda wakes up chained to a stone pillar. Remzi, Yavuz, and Apo are chained to their own pillars. In the middle of the room, a mass of blindfolded, blood-covered people crawl and kneel, reaching up towards a spiral staircase. A man with one eye uncovered walks around them. He claps, and they fall silent and still. The hooded figure slowly descends the staircase, and the blindfolded people reach out to him reverently as he passes. Yavuz curses at him. He removes his hood and washes his hands and his disfigured head, then laughs at Yavuz. He tells the officers that he is only there to help them, on a night where doors open and realms unite. He tells them that Hell is not a destination, but something they carry inside them, and that he is there to shepherd and guide them.
The disfigured man (Baba) walks to Apo, who seems half-conscious. He opens Apo’s shirt, revealing a line of crude stitches across his belly, with several inches of intestine protruding from the end. He pulls at this, tearing open the stitches, then slowly pulls out Apo’s small intestine as the other officers scream for him to stop. Apo is unchained, collapses to the ground, and is pulled away by the bloody mob of people. Baba disrobes, revealing a large padlock hanging in the middle of his back, and a necklace of padlocks across his chest. He then walks to Yavuz and places a stool in front of him. He is short enough that, even when standing on the stool, his face is barely level with Yavuz’s. He asks for Yavuz’s name, who tearfully tells him after initially refusing. He tells Yavuz that he seems tough, and that the human soul worships power. He is handed a small knife. Remzi yells for Yavuz to close his eyes, and he does. The man asks Yavuz if he is ready to stop worshipping power and give up his worldly eyes to see what is beyond. The man repeatedly asks Yavuz to open his mind, as he begs him to stop. Finally, Baba says, “Yavuz,” and he opens his eyes for a moment, only to have the knife gouge them out. Baba licks the bloody knife and Yavuz’s eye sockets. A blindfold is wrapped around his head. Baba kisses Yavuz on the forehead and tells him not to disappoint him. The one-eyed man opens a door and leads a chained woman, crawling on all fours with a goat’s skull attached to her face, into the room. Yavuz is positioned behind her and has sex with her. He orgasms, then the woman crawls away and collapses. Baba approaches Yavuz and tells him that his heart and mind are still not open. Yavuz says “no” repeatedly as he has a seizure, then collapses. A large spider crawls out of his mouth, as Rezmi and Arda scream. The one-eyed man picks up the spider and places it into a drawer.
Baba says that maybe the honor belongs to Arda, before placing the stool in front of him. Remzi yells at him to stop, and to take him instead. Baba does not respond, and places his forehead against Arda’s while mumbling strange words. Arda squeezes his eyes shut. Baba licks his knife, and then his finger, which he uses to dab blood onto Arda’s forehead. He says he wasn't wrong about Arda. Baba then places the stool in front of Remzi. He says that he was only expecting Remzi, then thanks him for raising Arda and bringing him along. He then cuts open Remzi’s throat as Arda screams. Baba washes himself in Remzi’s blood as it spurts from his neck. He goes back to Arda and grabs his head, placing their foreheads together again, and Arda has visions of the road and the abandoned building, cast in a red light. Meanwhile, the woman with the goat skull squats over a basin, and a rock resembling a fetus drops down from her.
Arda finds himself in the restaurant again. Instead of sitting across the table, Remzi is now laying on the floor, with this throat slashed. He tells Arda that he made a promise to protect him. Baba approaches them from the doorway. Remzi tells Arda that he has only one key in this life, and that it belongs to Arda now. Arda reaches into Remzi’s neck wound and pulls out a key. Baba is now next to him, saying “Everything ends, but everything starts anew.” Arda takes the key and plunges it into the keyhole-shaped tattoo on Baba’s forehead. He falls to the ground, in the dungeon. Arda picks up the stool and beats Baba to death with it, covering himself in blood. He walks past the mass of blindfolded people and ascends the spiral staircase. He exits the building, cast in a red light as in his vision. He walks with a strange limp, pausing to laugh maniacally. He exits the woods and starts jogging down the middle of an abandoned road. He is then hit by the police van in exactly the same sequence shown earlier in the film. Notably, all of the police officers, including Arda, are shown in the van, suggesting that Arda is caught in a time loop. The film closes on the now-empty police van, sitting abandoned in the stream.
- Ergun Kuyucu as Boss Remzi
- Muharrem Bayrak as Yavuz
- Gorkem Kasal as Arda
- Fatih Dokgöz as Apo
- Sabahattin Yakut as Seyfi
- Mehmet Cerrahoglu as Baba / The Father
- Sevket Suha Tezel as Master Creep / The Servant
- Fadik Bülbül as Sister Butcher
- Mehmet Akif Budak as Diner Footboy
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (October 2019)
Baskin was directed by Can Evrenol, who also co-wrote the film, and is based on Evrenol's earlier short film of the same name. The film was independently financed and shot in Istanbul by MO Film, with a budget around $350,000. It was a 28-night shoot, with no days shots, with a month of pre-production and a post-production stage of 2 months. In an interview with Fangoria, director says: "Our permits were at times iffy, so we were always stressed about the authorities finding out what the hell we were doing in some of our crazy locations. We had naked people on set in the most conservative areas of town. That was a constant stress. Also, the time limitations for certain scenes made them really difficult, and that single underwater shot cost us almost half a shooting night."
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (July 2018)
Capelight Pictures released a Limited Collector's Edition DVD and Blu-ray combo pack in Germany on April 29, 2016. It was later released in the United States by Scream Factory on August 9, 2016 as a two-disk DVD/Blu-ray combo pack.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 78% based on 41 reviews, with a weighted average rating of 6.66/10. Its consensus reads, "Baskin complements its gory thrills with heavy atmosphere and deliberate pacing, adding up to a horror outing that plays with the mind as enthusiastically as it ruins the appetite." On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating to reviews, the film has a weighted average score of 58 out of 100, based on 12 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
Shock Till You Drop praised the film and drew comparisons to the work of Italian horror director Lucio Fulci, writing "BASKIN feels like a steroidal version of a vintage early 80’s Fulci film; not a rip-off or an homage by any stretch, but an heir to the same philosophies of filmmaking, the same desire to create an unrelenting, dreamscape of Grand Guignol and emotional response." Noel Murray from Los Angeles Times called the film "well made and imaginatively upsetting", while noting that the film's excessive gore might not be for all tastes. Tom Huddleston from Time Out London awarded the film 4/5 stars, calling it "[an] atmospheric, genuinely nightmarish Turkish horror movie". Huddleston praised the film's visuals as being "painstaking and horribly beautiful", while noting that the film's thin plot, and minimal character development.
Richard Whittaker from Austin Chronicle offered the film similar praise, writing, "From the opening moments, he [Evrenol] creates an unnerving mood and a sense of complete cosmology that the humans within it can never fully comprehend. That final sequence is truly squirm-inducing, not least because he changes tone so completely from the opening and middle sequences, from verite, to fast-cut scares, to long, languorous, brooding shots of this incredible antechamber to hell that he has created." Ben Kenigsberg from The New York Times gave the film a positive review, comparing it to A Nightmare on Elm Street for its themes of childhood and dreams, and its lavish use of violence and gore.
The film was not without its detractors, with some critic complaining about the plot lacking any narrative sense. Dennis Harvey from Variety wrote a mixed review, stating "Of interest as a rare modern Turkish horror film, Can Evrenol’s debut feature will be a must-see for fans at fantasy fests, but its initial promise dissipates in a muddle of repetitious phantasmagoria and too little narrative or character development." David Rooney from The Hollywood Reporter criticized the film for its nonsensical narrative, writing, "[Baskin] offers little in the way of narrative involvement or scares but doesn't stint on sustained, stylized revulsion." Jake Dee from Arrow in the Head gave the film a score of 5/10, stating, "After an engrossing opener to capture the imagination, too many downturns and repetitive horror tenets are unveiled that detract from the intriguing freshness of the opening. The film is shot well, acted believably and features an unnerving musical score and bouts of violence that are sure to impress some. But when all is said and done, it's hard to come away from the film with anything other than the assurance that director Can Evrenol has a great movie in him somewhere."
- "Movie Review: Baskin - 2015". Flickering Myth. Retrieved 2016-04-23.
- Miska, Brad. "Watch the Original 'Baskin' Short That Preluded the Film's Trip to Hell! - Bloody Disgusting". Bloody Disgusting.com. Brad Miska. Retrieved 10 July 2018.
- Fabian, Daniel. ""Baskin": Capelight veröffentlicht Horrorschocker ungeschnitten im Mediabook - Blu-ray - DVD-Forum.at". DVD Forum.at. Daniel Fabian. Retrieved 10 July 2018.
- "Baskin (2015) - Can Evrenol". Allmovie.com. Allmovie. Retrieved 10 July 2018.
- "Baskin (2016) - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes.com. Flixer. Retrieved 28 October 2019.
- "Baskin Reviews - Metacritic". Metacritic.com. Metacritic. Retrieved 10 July 2018.
- "Advance Review: BASKIN - Shock Till You Drop". Shock Till You Drop. Retrieved 2016-03-06.
- Murray, Noel. "Cop thriller 'Baskin' turns into imaginative gore-fest horror film". LA Times.com. Noel Murray. Retrieved 10 July 2018.
- Huddleston, Tom. "Baskin (2016), directed by Can Evrenol". Time Out.com. Tom Huddleston. Retrieved 10 July 2018.
- Whittaker, Richard. "Fantastic Fest 2015: Baskin: Drag me to Turkish hell - Screens - The Austin Chronicle". Austin Chronicle.com. Richard Whittaker. Retrieved 10 July 2018.
- "Review:'Baskin,' From Turkey, Blends Style and Gore". The New York Times. Retrieved 2016-04-23.
- Harvey, Dennis. "Toronto Film Review: 'Baskin'". Variety. Retrieved 2016-03-06.
- Rooney, David. "'Baskin': TIFF Review". The Hollywood Reporter.com. David Rooney. Retrieved 10 July 2018.
- Dee, Jake. "Baskin (Movie Review)". JoBlo.com. Jake Dee. Retrieved 10 July 2018.
- Official website
- Baskin at AllMovie
- Baskin on IMDb
- Baskin at Metacritic
- Baskin at Rotten Tomatoes
- „Ein Schlag ins Gesicht der türkischen Popkultur“ – Interview with Can Evrenol (in German)