Let’s go back to Turkey.
Horror films from Turkey have become on of my favorite things to find on Prime or Netflix. Highly stylized, violent, and often relentless, these films work quite well.
Naciye has two stories. The first, of a woman who is staying at house she does not belong, and the second, a young couple who are trying to rent the house. As these two stories converge, the couple realizes they are in danger from the woman, who hides a dark secret.
There is a lot of subtext in the film that isn’t fully elaborated in the right ways for things to make sense. We get numerous time jumps and switches without any warning or reason. Further, we get so many different relationships (almost all seem troubled) and we aren’t always clear on why there is such strain.
This is not to say the film is unenjoyable, but it seems more muddled than it needs to. One thing makes the storytelling messy is the lack of dialogue. We get several minutes without any talking, and with the characters often in shadow, it is hard to tell what they are thinking.
We end up with a script issue and a technical issue. Without more information it is hard to invest in these characters. Hell, it is hard to understand their motivations. The storytelling is a little too sparse for things to be clear.
I mentioned the lighting above. Some low budget films get away with poor lighting better than others. This one has too much in darkness. A small gripe, but in the scenes at night it is a constant thought.
For technical problems, the biggest one might be the music. It doesn’t fit the tone of the movie at all and gives everything a campy tone. Too high and too high a tempo at almost every example. Any suspense built is whisked away once the strumming begins. The film would have done better with no music added.
The directing itself works well. The framing of scenes is good (even when they’re too dark) and we get a calm hand behind the camera. The acting is likewise mostly good, but there is a tinge of camp in some of the performances (the husband seems to only be able to yell talk). Depending on your opinion of campiness, this is a good or a bad thing. Since the film is trying to be serious, I see this as a negative.
The pacing aims for a slow burn but ends up just being a bit slow. It is odd that such a short film could feel this long.
The film does a good job showing unhealthy relationships, but it needs more information about these people for things to work completely. There is a good film here that didn’t fully come together.
Twists in Turkish horror have become a bit of a staple. Unfortunately, knowing there is going to be one (the film telegraphs it and it is mentioned in the summaries) leaves the audience guessing what it is going to be, and it isn’t that surprising.
The movie is more about domestic failures and violence than a traditional horror film. There are better films to stream—including better Turkish horror. I think this one can be skipped.