Thursday, January 26, 2017

In short: Muska (2014)

Celal (Sezgin Erdemir), a sexist would-be womanizer who’ll one day grow up to be misogynist, is thrown out of her flat after his girlfriend walks in on him cheating on her.

Not having been paid for his work as a journalist for months now, and with no friends willing to put him up (nor to put up with him, one can’t help but think), Celal needs a cheap place to live right quick. Fortunately, his possibly only friend Engin (Taylan Güner) helps Celal find a place he just might be able to afford. It’s a small room in a run-down private house owned by an elderly woman called Aliye (Tanju Tuncel), who lives there with her grandchild Mehmet (Efe Karaman). Celal isn’t happy with the place at all, but a glance at Aliye other tenant, Yasemin (Asli Sahin) changes his mind right quick. Ah, the wonders of hormones.

Still, it turns out moving into this particular house is a very bad idea. Celal is plagued by mysterious shadows, dreams about a burned man and other sure-fire signs of the movie-supernatural. Things deteriorate from there.

In the last few years, there has been a good handful of horror films coming from Turkey, suggesting a minor renaissance of a genre that hasn’t been close to the country’s heart for political and social reasons. Ozkan Celik’s Muska isn’t exactly the sort of film that’ll make you ecstatic about this renaissance, but rather an embodiment of middling low budget kind of horror that’s not bad enough to be amused by or to hate and not good enough to love.

The plot is rather on the obvious side, just barely filling the barely 80 minutes of runtime, the acting’s okay, the camera work decent. From time to time, the film even achieves a truly atmospheric scene but Celik keeps everything so basic, excitement lives elsewhere.

That’s too bad too, for there are quite a few exciting and interesting directions the film could have moved in from its basic ideas, like commenting on the nature of identity, the sexist’s fear of women, and so on, but the film never digs any deeper than the surface, consequently never achieving any deeper involvement from its audience.

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