I’ve been hearing a lot about this movie and considering I was not that familiar with Turkish cinema (well other than the plethora of Turkish soap operas that they spam on our channels) so I decided to check it out.
The movie starts off with a scene of a young child sleeping in his bed. He hears loud moaning and decides to investigate. While looking around in the house he sees a horrific figure and goes running to his mother. After this, we cut to another scene where a group of police officers is enjoying their off time at a diner. While returning home they get called as reinforcements at a part of the town which is known for odd and creepy activity. While heading for the spot they seemingly run over someone and are forced to walk the rest of the way. Once they arrive shit hits the fan and things take a turn to the insane.
This movie really took me by surprise. I knew from the start that since it started off so seemingly cheerful and light (well as cheerful and light as a horror can be) that a punch in the gut was coming but boy oh boy was it a punch and a half. It felt like prime Mike Tyson hitting you with full force. The second half of the movie is grotesque, gory and really bloody with some of the most disturbing imagery that you will see combined with some stunning imagery and surprisingly decent acting. That being said the film makes you feel much more disturbed than it actually is. To a veteran horror movie viewer, it won’t be the most disturbing thing that they’ve seen but it will definitely make them uncomfortable.
The most impressive thing about this movie is that this was Can Evrenol’s directorial debut. The only thing that he had done before this were a few short horror films, of which one was the original version of Baskin. Also, the budget for the film was very small and the cast is mainly comprised out of newcomers, especially the main antagonist who before acting in this worked as a parking attendant which is interesting considering he gave arguably the best performance in the movie. Fun fact he also became a friend to the director and helped a bit with the artistic direction of the movie. Even the music that was used in the driving scene (definitely one of my favorite scenes in the film) was in the public domain.
As for the plot, it really is simplistic and there are a lot of things that will piss some people off and it seems that it had a lot of wasted potentials. While the first half sets things up perfectly the second bloodier part seems to fall flat plot-wise. But it only might seem like that if you don’t understand the references and foreshadowing in the movie. I will give my final verdict for those that have not seen the film and move on with the spoiler area and analysis below it. And to be fair even with an analysis and explanation of the deeper meanings, this film might still not impress everyone but to me, anything that makes me research it and dig deeper is automatically a win and it deserves a lot more praise than a regular film. Especially if it is combined with stunning visuals and a great soundtrack. Not everyone wants an illogical movie. It relies on dream logic and nightmares and that’s not everyone’s cup of tea and I understand that.
Final verdict: 8/10
So what are all the signs and foreshadowings in this film? Let’s start from the beginning.
The bucket. At the start of the film, we see a mysterious figure carry a bucket of meat to the diner. We see the same figure later in the film a couple of times. And the meat could be the remains of the organs of the police officers.
The mirror. There is one scene where Arda is looking at himself in the mirror and lets out a terrifying scream. In Turkish folklore looking yourself in the mirror at night means that you will see your true character.
The frogs. In folklore, frogs represent bringers of doom.
The frog hunters. The frog hunters serve as a warning for the horrific things to come. The frogs are also prevalent throughout the movie. And the last words of the girl are roughly translated into “Pity those who walk through the door of death and do not even know it”.
The bridge. Some believe that all souls must cross the bridge of judgment in order to reach the land of the dead. If the soul of the person is evil, a demon appears and takes them into the “house of lies”
The ending. The ending is very ambiguous and can be understood in many ways. For some, it meant that Arda finally broke through the loop. There were a lot of clues which led us to believe that they are in a loop, like the bucket that I mentioned before. It seemed that he got run over and the loop continued but the very last scene showed an empty police van meaning Arda finally broke the loop and the officers are free. This video digs deeper into that:
But to me, it really doesn’t add up. If they are in hell, what is the point of breaking the loop? If they are in hell then why is there a way out? Then again I’ll have to rewatch it and dig deeper into the symbolism, which again to me is a great thing since not a lot of movies make you do that.