‘Baskin’ breaks through finals week blues

Finals week crushes even the strongest students. It’s a stressful, grating time where it’s not unheard of to break down every once and a while. With so much on our minds, it’s nice to escape in some mindless entertainment, and it doesn’t get more mindless than “Baskin.” This homage to Italian horror will shut viewers’ brains off more quickly than any drug.

Five police officers are out on routine night patrol. Arda (Gorkem Kasal) is a newcomer to the group. The weirdly incompetent veterans by his side, Remzi (Ergun Kuyucu, “Kizkaciran”), Yavuz (Muharrem Bayrak, “Cilek”), Apo (Fatih Dokgoz), and Sabo (Sabahattin Yakut) barely warrant naming. On their way to a call, they crash the van and decide to follow up anyway. They reach the scene, an old mansion in the middle of the forest, and discover, after gallons of blood are spilled, that a gate to Hell has opened in its basement.

Let’s get something out of the way: “Baskin” does very little right. From the plot to the editing, everything feels broken. But giallo horror, the genre which the movie pays homage to, is just like that. Even giallo master Dario Argento’s hugely influential film “Suspiria” is more bad than good. So what’s the litmus test for a movie like this?

Thankfully, “Baskin” is a lot of fun when it gets going. Gorehounds will fall in love almost immediately. There’s even something here for fans of suspense. If anything, the movie builds very well. When the chaos hits, while over-the-top, it feels earned. The mansion is a creepy locale, and direct Can Evrenol has the chops to give it character.

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But, and this is a big but, the movie is just so long. At the beginning, lengthy sequences pass where little happens. The cops chat, Arda dreams, and that’s it. The structure is so confusing that it feels important somehow like “Baskin” is reaching for something. But whatever it is, it doesn’t get it. It’s needless surreality masks what’s really going on: nothing. “Baskin” is another vapid entry in the trash heap of satanic horror.

Even the horror goes on for too long. Once the cops are captured, Baba (Mehmet Cerrahoglu), a cult leader, takes to sermonizing about it. He’s another uninteresting one-note baddie completely unaided by Cerrahoglu’s stiff performance. To be fair, though, for all its downfalls, I still had fun watching it. The blood comes in gallons, and Evrenol sometimes makes art out of it. It’s a grimy descent through-and-through.

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It’s the let-your-mind-rest kind of horror with plenty of creative kills viewers can soak up between essays. “Baskin” wears its influences on its sleeve, and that’s a shame. Much of giallo was, from the start, awful, so what could viewers expect? Evrenol uses his locale well, even better than his own characters, but the movie is just too long. Some deaths make those empty stretches worth it. Watch “Baskin” before finals weekends because, during any other time of the year, it’s a waste of time.