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.