Friday, April 15, 2016

Horror Movie Mini-reviews: Darling and Baskin

* Darling

Darling tells the story of a young woman in presumably the 60's taking care of a large, lush mansion with a dark history. The owner warned her that the last caretaker killed herself, but she soldiers on, slowly going mad. It's a bit like Lords of Salem: very light on plot and heavy on visual style. The entire movie is filmed in black and white without a whole lot of dialog. Darling is our otherwise nameless protagonist, portrayed brilliantly by Lauren Ashley Carter. It's clear that she's a bit disturbed when she arrives at the house with a perfectly bland facade and it cracks spectacularly as the film goes one. Much of the film is driven by odd camera angles, closeups, unsettling flashes of images, and Carter's expressive face. The camera slowly follows her as she walks the streets of the city as her mental faculties deteriorate and she chooses her target. The sense of unease is enhanced by the varying score accompanying the film by Giona Ostinelli. One moment, the music is a beautiful, conventional piano score and the next it practically assaults the ears. This film isn't perfect, but it's an unsettling, beautiful, gory piece of art. The only drawback is that it is excruciatingly slow (which I didn't mind) and some of her faces made me laugh during the crazy moments. I recommend that anyone watch the film at least once whether you find it boring or slow because it's so visually striking and truly does take you on a trip to madness.

My rating: 4/5 fishmuffins

* Baskin

Baskin features a crass, corrupt team of Turkish cops answering a call and descending into hell. The first third of the film establishes their characters in a very uncomfortable to watch scene. To me, it was just as uncomfortable as the nightmarish visions late in the film. These men tell crass, horrible stories to each other involving mostly their sexual exploit until they turn that aggression onto an innocent waiter just to throw their weight around. Practically each one of them is an awful person either actively or passively allowing each other to bully innocent citizens and abuse their power as police. I felt little sympathy as they suffered. The film is an interesting mix of dream and reality. The visuals inside their personal hell were truly horrific and unexpected. I watched never knowing what my eyes would be assaulted with next. The weird dream sequences/flashbacks that interspersed the plot dragged it down and slowed the tempo. Other than that, it's a pretty solid hell flick that shows unique hell plateaux. I don't have any strong feelings about it either way.  If nothing else, it's an unique experience that I haven't seen before.

My rating: ?/5 fishmuffins

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