Mahlûkat (2022)

Rating: B-

Dir: Alper Mestçi
Star: Adnan Koç, Seda Oguz, Kurtulus Sakiragaoglu, Oyku Gokduman

Well, it looks like the Siccin franchise has kicked off again, with the IMDb indicating that Siccin 7 was released in Turkey earlier this month, five years after the previous entry. While I wait for that to show up, ideally with subtitles, let’s celebrate with another movie from series creator Mestçi. To be honest, this could well have been a Siccin movie, since it seems to share quite a lot of the same attributes. With a title which translates as “Entity”, there’s a familial curse passed down through the generations, demonic possessions, plenty of jump scares and the same, dark cloying atmosphere we (more or less) enjoyed in the “true” Siccin films. It’s also “based on a true story.”

You will need to concentrate, because the first chunk introduces a slew of characters, whose relationships are not easy to keep track of. Honestly, I ended up taking notes of who was who, and how they were related. You can’t tell the players without a scorecard… What I gleaned was as follows: Araf (Koc) was driven insane by an incident nine years ago, which led to the loss of his wife and daughter. He’s now troubled by visions which have pushed him to the edge of suicide, with crippled sister Zehra (Oguz), his only link to the real world. The incident is blamed on his uncle, Burhan (Sakiragaoglu), whose son Suat either died in an accident or committed suicide – opinions differ – leaving a daughter, Ece (Gokduman) to cope with the loss.

Initially, I thought Araf was dead too, his spirit trapped in a netherworld between our plane of existence and the afterlife, such is the nightmarish quality of his existence. However, turns out it’s just the way the world is, a hellish landscape populated only by the active characters in the film, with the world largely limited to the family’s two houses. Everybody has their share of trauma, which they deal with in their own way. For instance, Ece dresses up a mannequin, gives it a balloon for a head and pretends it’s her father. This works about as well as you would expect, i.e. not at all. Others simply pull the bed-sheets over their head and wait for it to go away.

There’s a solid hour of this well-crafted nonsense before we get to anything approaching a detailed explanation, and it’s both good and bad. It certainly yanks the Turkish carpet out from under the viewer, albeit at the cost of rendering much of what has gone before irrelevant. However, on balance, I think it works, and sets up the grandstand finale which is part exorcism, part interpretive dance number. Feels like Mestçi might have been trying to start another franchise at the end. The exorcist wanders off into the sunset, a poster child for what does not kill you, makes you stronger, and having ascended into being the “Fire Executioner”. I’d not mind a Turkish take on Captain Kronos, Vampire Hunter.