Baskin is a Turkish film that follows a squad of cops as they investigate a call to a remote town, only to discover a Hellish cult and what seemingly becomes a gateway to Hell itself. The oft-amoral and immoral group of police officers quickly come to terms with their predicament when the cultists of this underground Black Mass wreak havoc.
Baskin has received many parallels to Hellraiser. And while I definitely see the resemblance in places, they are entirely different films in my opinion. I have a great appreciation of Hellraiser, and while I feel the special effects have aged well, if we're being honest, the acting and some of the script did not. Baskin sports a stronger cast, on-par directing, but lacks the charisma and effects work that made the Hellraiser film so special.
Baskin's take on Hell isn't particularly new, hence the connections made to Hellraiser, but it delivers in such a way that feels original and immersive. The visceral cinematography and effects work, combined with an oft-realistic perspective on the situation, makes for an experience that drags you into Hell with them in a way that Hellraiser didn't.
The monster-fan in me was hoping for some cenobite-like action in Baskin, and while I was selfishly disappointed in this regard, the more human malevolence mad it feel more real. While the film certainly carries with it a paranormal theme, much of the behavior of the villainous cultists is based in some level of reality, which makes it all the more frightening and disturbing.
I was frustrated by the camera's cowardice to show our cultists in their garbage-laden glory, doing shaky cuts frequently. The camera in the final act definitely settles down, however, and makes sure you are along for the ride with our protagonists.
Baskin is not a film that is easy to forget. It makes an impact in the grotesque ways you'd expect a horror film to make. Some people have questioned the pace of the film, but I personally liked the slow build. It may be unfair to hold Baskin side-by-side to the classic Hellraiser, but I think it holds its own as a glimpse into the terror that Hell is. One of the better horror films we've seen this year.