Tag Archives: Can Evrenol

No More Words

Girl with No Mouth

by Hope Madden

If you haven’t seen writer/director Can Evrenol’s 2015 feature debut Baskin, you really must. Watch it right now.

Unless you’re squeamish. Then maybe don’t. But there is another film you might like, Evrenol’s surprisingly good natured post-apocalyptic kid adventure, Girl with No Mouth.

A little bit Goonies, a little bit Mad Max (you know, the one with the kids with the mullets), a little bit Peter Pan, and a lot of deformed children. He is Can Evrenol, after all.

His film is set ten years after The Corporation’s big disaster. Ten-year-old Peri (Elif Sevinc, an effective hero regardless of the fact that she has no dialog) bears the evidence of that disaster. When The Corporation sends goons around to finish cleaning up any remaining evidence, Peri is on the run in the woods, where she finds three friends with similar birth defects.

They believe they’re pirates.

You have to give it to Evrenol, who flavors the film with childlike innocence and fantasy without soft peddling the horror of their situation. It’s a wildly unusual tone the film hits, but it never misses.

Girl has a sense of humor entirely lacking in Baskin, as well as a feeling of optimism. There is blood and death, maggots and burning flesh, but there’s real joy in this film, however weird that is to say.

The four children—Denizhan Akbaba, Ozgur Civelek and Kaan Alpdayi, alongside Sevinc—utterly captivate. Their performances are not showy, but they are vibrant and sometimes giddy. It’s the liveliest post-apocalypse you’re likely to see.

It may never live up to the sheer WTF nastiness of Baskin, nor is it likely to haunt your nightmares the way that descent into hell would. Girl with No Mouth is an adventure film more than a horror movie, and its hopeful resolution may seem out of place in a landscape devoid of such whimsy.

It’s also the second excellent film I’ve seen this week (along with Adrian Panek’s Werewolf) that realizes adults ruin everything and there’s really only one way to fix it.

To Hell and Back


by Hope Madden

“Hell is not a place you see. You carry Hell with you at all times.”

Cheery stuff, that! If you’ve ever wondered what hell might look like, first time feature director Can Evrenol has some ideas to share. They are vivid. You’ll swear they even have an odor.

Evrenol’s Baskin is a loose, dreamily structured descent into that netherworld in the company of a 5-man Turkish police unit. (Baskin is Turkish for “police raid.”) The serpentine sequencing of events evokes a dream logic that gives the film an inescapable atmosphere of dread, creepily underscored by its urgent synth score.

We are trapped along with this group of somewhat detestable, somewhat sympathetic men as they respond to a call for backup in an “off the map” nearby area. What they find is deeply disturbing.

Unless you really like frogs. If so, then – hooray! Frogs!

The rest of it, though? Horrifying.

Evrenol’s imagery is morbidly amazing. Much of it only glimpsed, most of it left unarticulated, but all of it becomes that much more disturbing for its lack of clarity.

The cast is uniformly solid with the exception of Mehmet Cerrahoglu, who may leave you speechless. The director has taken to calling him the new Michael Berryman – a name genre fans will recall as the haunting, hulking, hairless menace in Wes Craven’s The Hills Have Eyes and their nightmares.

Cerrahoglu’s remarkable presence authenticates the hellscape of these characters’ descent. Evrenol’s imaginative set design and wise lighting choices envelope Cerrahoglu, his writhing followers, and his victims in a bloody horror like little else in cinema.

There are moments when Baskin feels like a classier, more stylishly made Nightbreed, but there’s no camp factor here. Just a surreal exploration of the corruptibility of the human soul, and its final destination.

Baskin may infuriate viewers looking for a tidy package, and it may underwhelm gorehounds intrigued by reports of audience walk outs. Be that as it may, the film represents a vital new voice in the genre (Evrenol), not to mention a potentially iconic new face in horror and bad dreams (Cerrahoglu).