I know…. it’s been quite a dry spell again but I’m back with another “Turkish Delight” at the ol’ Litterbox and a peek at the 2011 Horror film “Musallat 2: Lanet”. Although not strictly a sequel to the earlier film, it nonetheless looks like it’s got all the creepy makings for a nice evening of Horror movie thrills and chills. Once I was able to find a copy… with those nifty English subtitles I need…. it really wasn’t hard to convince myself to snag a copy.
Our synopsis goes as follows: “Elif is a pretty young woman who grew up in a wealthy family. Everything in her life works according to plan – until she starts hearing voices, followed by strange nightmares and asthma attacks. She becomes convinced that she has fallen under some evil spell. In order to conquer the demon behind it all, she has to dig deep into her past and uncover her true origin. While doing this, she is confronted by the horrific circumstances of her birth.”
Turkish horror cinema has almost always been top-notch for this wee kitten, so I was hoping they’d score well this time out. Naturally, all my regular Gentle Visitors are probably into the same rather odd film experiences as yours truly, so what are you waiting for? Let’s find out if this one is another weird lil’ gem you just can’t live without seeing either…
Our film gets underway with a little bit of a tease featuring some Turkish locals out on some sort of midnight “treasure hunt” for old buried gold with the help of a creepy witch woman. Seems she’s able to whistle up her own person demon (or jinn…. as this is a Turkish film….) to show her the location of stuff like this. It’s supposed to be terribly wrong to do this in Islamic Turkey of course… but then people’s morals always seem to fall by the wayside when there is gold involved. One weird disturbing ceremony later…. and our guys get their wish as the treasure’s burial place is revealed…. and then we get told that things like this always come with a price….. Awww crap. Guess they should have checked into that ahead of time….. 😉
So what does this have to do with the story from “Musallat 1”? Well…. absolutely nothing as far as this wee Catgirl can see, apparently like many of our own “sequels” here in the West, it’s the name that counts marketing-wise. About the only connecting plot going on is the notion that trafficking in sorcery and spiritualism is always a bad idea and will result in your horrible death and eternal damnation. But that’s OK…. Neko’s pretty cool with that. So what the heck is going on here then?
Our real story centers around Elif (played by Türkü Turan) and her horrible asthma attacks and recent sudden visitations by Evil spirits that are somehow connected to her mysterious past…. a past she’s been kept ignorant of her entire life. She’s got a nice family…. a loving Mother and Father… a devoted sister… and even a fiance ready to marry her. Problem is…. most of what she thinks she knows about her family is all a lie. Ah-ha!! Now we’re getting somewhere.
Yep…. Seems our heroine is actually adopted, and the circumstances of her birth tied to a multiple murder/ suicide in a creepy village waaaaay out in the countryside. Yeah…. you just know what that means, right? Lots of superstitious peasants and that crazy witch woman from our title sequence are all intimately involved. She keeps getting haunted, her sister is nearly driven mad by the curse, and once Elif’s adoptive parents meet their demise at the hands of a runaway cement truck she’s bound and determined to find out the secrets that were held back for all those years.
This leads to the village of her birth’ of course, and the uncovering of the story behind her real parents deaths. Seems that Elif’s mother was barren. That creates some measure of friction with the family, and so desperately her husband decided to throw all common sense out the window and hire Ummü the witch (played by Tülay Bursa) to fix this using her magic. Apparently… this sort of thing is done by summoning one of those jinn to use it’s infernal powers to do the job. But when using such power…. you always have to “pay the piper” so to speak…. and the demon decides it wants the baby for itself as payment once Elif is born. Like that’s going to be acceptable.
When Elif’s dad says no, he beats and drives Ummü away, and the demon gets rough. It does the usual stuff you might expect. It possesses people… throws things around… kills Ummü.. gets the family to murder themselves, and ultimately ends up causing Elif to be taken away to the city and put up for adoption. Why it didn’t just spirit her away right then I’ll never know, but hey…. if it did that we would have much of a story now would we?
So… naturally once Elif arrives back at her home village looking for answers all this comes back to threaten her once more. Remember…. this is a Turkish movie with all it’s Islamic dislike of trafficking with the “dark forces”, so you just know that poor Elif is ultimately doomed. Most Turkish horror is like that…. and is presented more as a Moral lesson than as just entertainment so I can’t say I was really expecting any different outcome, even if it would have been nice to see our poor heroine survive. It’s not so much that Evil is allowed to triumph… it’s more that people are expected to suffer for turning their backs on Allah and this is seen to be right and proper in the grand scheme of things. Hard… but there you are.
All in all, “Musallat 2” is a classy looking film, especially if you’re only exposure to Turkish cinema has been those atrocious rip-off films that get a chuckle on Youtube and cult movie sites. Nope. This one is certainly a class act all the way, with good acting, nice effects and cinematography, and with an original plot that gives a very “Turkish” spin on those traditional ghost stories you might have seen in movies made much closer to home. But… for all that…. it’s not a particularly satisfying film. Much of that of course comes from that “bummer” of an ending…. our young heroine’s soul being reclaimed by the jinn at the conclusion (At least that’s how this wee Catgirl understood it… I could be wrong). Mind you… there’s a very good chance that much of the movie simply didn’t “translate” well to me as a “western” viewer. With that, I can still easily give it 3 “Meows” out of 5 and recommend it for the odd imagery and different folklore on hand for our story…. always a big hit with me.
The Region 2 DVD is well made, with excellent English subtitles and is presented in widescreen anamorphic PAL format. It’s not terribly hard to find a copy… although you’ll probably have to get it direct from Turkey for around 20-30$ US.
Naturally, the creepy Turkish Trailer is available online and here it is!