When HELLRAISER collides with SILENT HILL and has the inclusion of a Turkish terror twist, you get ‘BASKIN’.
Gorefest shorts, like his 2007 short SANDIK (a.K.A The Chest), Turkish director Can Evrenol hands us Hell with gutsy horror venturesome in his first feature film BASKIN. Opening on a child’s toys, cascading then to hand drawn photos and a boy sleeping. When that boys eyes open, the previous images ,and their illusion of innocence, disappear quickly. Merely moments of anomalous events and then we are thrust into a rundown, backwoods diner where we are introduced to five officers. Stories of sexual ventures fill the air. One to include a fun fact about chickens. It was a well played set up at learning the characteristics of each player that will be participating in the nights very unfortunate events to come. Long shots with most of the concentration on the environment made the impending doom very present. A call is made for police back up and they are off. Piling in their police van, they even have a group karaoke moment. I very much appreciated him (Envrenol) leaving this scene in its entirety. This “band of brothers” moment of pure joy on the cuff of meeting evil was wonderful in its calculated emotional pull. The quintessential long dark foggy road was traveled. The “whats that in the road” caused the intended crash. And the men conclude their travels on foot through the creepy woods. Not without meeting a few precarious individuals and more damn frogs (Envrenols mythological nod to symbols of doom-bringers). They discover the distress call came from a long abandon, decaying, run down police station. What is inside is anything but normal. As the group disbands, as they always do when they are not supposed to, the twisted gore begins! Blood splattered walls can never go without devilish drawings and candles! Never forget the candles. It quickly ramps up when each room starts to be examined. The imagery was an infusion of HELLRAISER meets SILENT HILL meets HOSTEL with a dash of EYES WIDE SHUT. And if Michael Berryman (77’ THE HILLS HAVE EYES) and Zelda Rubinstein (82’ POLTERGEIST) decided to procreate, feel pretty sure Mehmet Cerrahoglu’s character “the Father” would fit the bill! This frightful little fella invaded personal space, mumbled yoda-esque statements and crazy in shape! Hell must have a gym! Mehmet was enchanting. The fact the men were police and the false sense of control and power they think they had versus this mini malevolent being was stimulating to the conflict apex . This dungeon purgatory proves to be a testing ground ,of sorts, for the men. All in all, this expansion version of his 2013 short film by the same name, left me with questions. Why these men? What were the sins they were being held accountable for? Who went and at what store did they get the candles? Envrenol has that “Roth” ability to test limitations at the same time constructing the impact environments in which to execute them. He has an acute ability to draw you in to another world visually. I did not walk away feeling like I had watched a movie. That is the thrill with Evrenol. When he tells a story, it will stay with you. With the budget for the film in mind and then the visual accomplishments and diverse characters in play, this was an above average first feature achievement. I have no doubt this will not be the last we see from the creative mind of Can Evrenol.