M.L. Miller here! As I go into the tenth year of reviewing horror films, I wanted to go back to the beginning and repost some of the films I loved. Moving on to Year Six of my year-long Retro-Best in Horror I’m recapping the Countdown beginning officially on October 1, 2015 and going through September 30, 2016. I have posted compilation lists in the past, but a lot of those old reviews haven’t seen the light of day since they were first posted many moons ago. Being the OCD person that I am, I have also worked and reworked the list, looking back at my own choices and shifting them around, and even adding a few that I might have missed or looked over from the year in question. So, if you think you know how these lists are going to turn out, you don’t! Don’t forget to like and share my picks with your pals across the web on your own personal social media. Chime in after the review and let me know what you think of the film, how on the nose or mind-numbingly wrong I am, or most importantly, come up with your own darn list…let’s go!

Released on March 25, 2016. Available on DVD, BluRay, and On Demand from IFC Midnight! Also streaming on Hulu!

BASKIN (2015)

Directed by Can Evrenol
Written by Ogulcan Eren Akay, Can Evrenol, Cem Ozuduru, Ercin Sadikoglu
Starring Muharrem Bayrak, Mehmet Akif Budak, Fadik Bülbül, Mehmet Cerrahoglu, Elif Dag, Mehmet Fatih Dokgoz, Mümin Kaar, Gorkem Kasal, Sevinc Kaya, Serhat Mustafa Kiliç, Ergun Kuyucu, Fulya Peker, Sevket Suha Tezel, Sabahattin Yakut, Seyithan Özdemir
Find out more about this film here and on Facebook here

Some fantastic editing, simple effects, and an overall hell-bent tone make BASKIN one of the more memorable horrors of the year. This is a film that gets a lot of bang for its buck, mainly because of a few well-paced scenes of throat-clenching terror and modest yet effective effects. BASKIN’s plot is as labyrinthine as the dark maze the five police officers find themselves lost in as they receive a distress call to the middle of nowhere that ends up being the ends of this world and any sanity associated with it.

In tone, this film resembles most JACOB’S LADDER. It’s got a twisty-turny kind of plot that flows in and out of dreams and really plays with the concept of what is real and what is all inside one unwell mind. In the end, it doesn’t really matter because as a viewer, I was taken on such a swirling descent that I appreciated all of the perverse sounds and disquieting sights I was inundated with too much to give a crap whether I knew all of the answers to this puzzle.

Swiping elements of Clive Barker’s worst nightmares and lathering them with blood, mud, and froggy slime, once in the cops’ hellish nightmare you’re going to be amazed at what is happening. The real treat here is that none of it is explained or really seen in a clear manner. There’s a sexual aspect to it all, but with all of the screaming and gore, it’s hard to find anything titillating about it all. What amazes me is that much of what we are seeing is not anything more than an elaborate and gory room one might see in an upscale haunted house, but it’s Can Evrenol’s gifted editing and camera work that highlights just enough to cause all sorts of unease that makes it all seem like something we’ve never seen and never really want to. Using dark lighting, filming around corners, and using quick cuts, what your mind’s eye puts together from all of these pieces is more terrifying than any well lit set piece could provide.

BASKIN is also a really well-acted film with a talented cast of Turkish actors, especially Gorkem Kasal, who spouts a masterfully-paced retelling of the bizarre dream imagery we are about to witness before the opening credits. The other actors play mostly grizzled cop roles, but do them in a no-nonsense and gritty sort of way that makes one believe they have seen and done things that are deserving of this hellish descent.

Moving at a brisk pace, BASKIN doesn’t wait long to toss the viewer into the abyss. Filled with all kinds of unsettling gore paired with disturbing actions one can only barely understand, BASKIN is less of a narrative to be understood and more of an experiential trip through the most perverse and gruesome corners of hell. Abandon all hope ye who enter BASKIN!

Click here for the trailer!

THE 2015-2016 COUNTDOWN!

#28 – BASKIN

M. L. Miller is a wordslinger/writer of wrongs/reviewer/interviewer/editor of MLMILLERWRITES.COM. Follow @Mark_L_Miller.

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