Long on imagery, short on imagination, Turkish extreme horror Baskin – which pits a dodgy team of cops against a weirdo metaphysical cult in the bowels of an abandoned building – teases Fulci-esque madness amid its references (a dash of Hellraiser, a hint of Martyrs) but rears up when it truly matters, falling on a cop-out climax which only telegraphs that debuting director Can Evrenol didn’t really know how to end it.
A home invasion thriller with a twist (the victim is deaf), Hush almost falters right from the get-go by opening a plot hole so maddeningly huge that the entire enterprise threatens instant derailment. That this is Mike Flanagan’s follow-up to his excellent psychological horror Oculus makes it doubly frustrating. Still, viewers will be rewarded for sticking with it as the story slowly finds its feet (the stalk-and-talk middle section drags, overly enamoured with its confusedly drawn mouth-breather of a villain, even though it’s 80 minutes tops) and culminates in a strong, inventive third act when the time comes to put up or shut up. It remains to be seen whether the depiction of our heroine Maddie (Kate Siegel, who co-wrote with her husband Flanagan) is one embraced by deaf communities, as it reads as muddled to this hearing reviewer (she lost her hearing in her teens but she doesn’t vocalise at all, let alone speak?). But they get some marks for trying.
A smiley-faced tentacle monster capable of destroying the world challenges a class of high school no-hopers to assassinate him before graduation in order to save the planet? Trust the Japanese to give us such weirdness with decent production values.
Taking place entirely on the MacBook desktop of one of its protagonists, between Skype calls, Facebook pages, YouTube clips and instant messaging windows, Unfriended is a remarkably effective, and surprisingly grim, modern horror – though one that stumbles in the final minutes towards its short-changing payoff.