Sunday, September 9, 2012
I'm very fascinated by Turkish neo-horror, especially if it's shot digital and on a very low budget. It always reminds me of the golden days in
directors and producers did what they felt for with a camera and some actors.
It's not about originality, it's about creativity. I've reviewed the excellent
Gen and the interesting D@bbe earlier and now I've just ordered a couple of
other new horrors to have something to see after the interesting Araf. Shot on
a budget that must have been very low, Araf is an interesting tale that
wouldn't have been possible to produce in - for example - the Turkey .
The international title, The Abortion, says a lot about the controversial
subject, but surprisingly enough the movie comes off as quite politically and
religiously harmless in the end. United States
Eda is a young dancer. She's happily dating a photographer, Cenk. One night she's more or less raped by a rich doctor and 16 weeks later she finds out she's pregnant. In panic she visits an illegal abortion "clinic" (a weirdo in a basement) and takes care of the problem. Time flies and three years later she's overcome the trauma and is about to marry Cenk. Then something starts to visit her, a little girl with black eyes. It's her child, out for revenge. Out to get her mother...
What makes Araf work is a fine gallery of interesting characters. The leading lady Eda, played by Akasya Asiltürkmen, is great and her boyfriend, Cenk (Murat Yildirim) is portrayed with good amount of intelligence and sensitivity - much more than what you would find in similar American movies. For example, he doesn't judge Eda for what happen - not even the slightest. He's a supportive and loving man who supports his girlfriend even in very hard times. I'm actually a surprised, mostly because we rarely see this kind of human behavior in the hard, cold world we live in today.
Araf is very cheap. I won't even speculate how cheap it was. For me this doesn't matter at all, all that counts is a good story that is well told. Director Biray Dalkiran handles the drama and scares quite well, and takes a lot of inspiration from Japanese horrors (something that seems - so far, with my experience - quite common in
Sometimes the effects doesn't work, but the dark and gritty subject makes up
for failed scared tactics and keeps the movie going. The effects is quite
primitive, but if you're in the mood you'll accept them without hesitation. I
mean, it's just a movie and a movie is built around a story, and the story
always rules over the special effects. Turkey
Araf could have been a disturbing morality tale about what will happen with women who takes abortion, but because of well-written character and a human look at what life is about - not easy - it actually manages to stumble around that booby trap and becomes a slightly disturbing horror tale instead of a religious or political statement. I'm impressed.
I'm well aware that Turkish shot-on-video movies is not for everyone, but I have dear friends who loves German gore movies - a genre I personally never cared for, but I'm willing to give it a try if the right movie falls down on my lap. Araf might not be the perfect movie to start with, but even if the budget is low and the visual effects is cheaper than cheap, it has something. It has a strong story, it has darkness. I like that. A lot.