A twisted, surreal & nightmarish journey into the bottomless depths of hell, Baskın is an extremely disturbing, utterly unusual & overly ambitious tale that feels like something that came straight out of the abyss and, thanks to its stomach-churning violence & gore as well as multitudes of themes & symbolisms, it isn’t an easy film to decipher in one sitting.
The story of Baskın follows a squad of five police officers who, after dining in a restaurant, receive a distress call from a nearby town and head there to investigate the issue. But once they reach the crime scene, an abandoned building that used to be a police station during the Ottoman era, they find themselves inexplicably trapped in a world of madness & suffering.
Co-written & directed by Can Evrenol in what is his feature film debut, Baskın is adapted from his short film of the same name and is one phantasmagorical ride from start to finish that’s as bizarre as it is bewildering. The plot is filled with flashbacks & dream sequences and in between lies some real nasty stuff as well that’s definitely not for the easily-distressed.
Each frame of it is instilled with a foreboding sense of doom and its dilapidated sets, sophisticated yet eerie camerawork, shaded colour tones, steady pace & stimulating score, all contribute greatly in enhancing its overall impact, and is all the more amplified by the gruesome brutality that Evrenol puts on the screen, for the level of violence that’s on display here is absolutely sickening.
Performances are good even if the characters aren’t that well-defined. More than individual inputs, it’s the chemistry between the five actors that makes their characters believable. But nobody even holds a candle to the performance that comes later in the story from a first-time actor. Playing the antagonist, Mehmet Cerrahoglu chips in with a show-stealing work and makes for one intimidating villain.
On an overall scale, Baskın is one of the most shocking, disturbing & emotionally upsetting films of the year that’s drenched in dread, revels in suffering & bathes in body horror. The labyrinth-like structure of its plot does go over the head sometimes but there is still an intriguing quality to it that keeps the interest alive until the very end. A convoluted mess but also an undeniably powerful experience, this Turkish horror about five cops who inadvertently wander into hell isn’t for everyone. Enter at your own risk.