NACIYE Give New Twist to Horror Genre
Turkish writer and director Lütfü Emre Çiçek’s makes his feature-length film debut with Naciye, a horror film that presents a new twist on the home invasion genre. In the film, the title character Naciye (pronounced “Na-djee-a”) viciously defends her former seaside home from the renters that would usurp her. Filmed in Turkish with subtitles, the film is available to stream online and was just released for DVD. It premiered at ScreamFest LA in 2015 before a theatrical release in Turkey in 2016.
In the film, a couple rents a vacation home only to be descended upon by its former owner and continued occupant, the deceivingly matronly-looking Naciye, played by Derya Alabora. As the film progresses, we discover more about the bizarre history of the house and its occupants, including their less than hospitable treatment of its occasional tenants.
Fans of the genre will find a fairly familiar but well-executed variant of the “inbred locals butcher unsuspecting out-of-towners” variety of horror film.
Beauty Amidst the Horror
Where this film differs from the norm, however, is in its visual style. The setting of the Turkish seaside resort is both lush and decrepit, and the Old-World scenery is a refreshing contrast to the more standard redneck environs of comparable American horror films. The film is shot with an eye for the beauty of the setting, with some sumptuous scenes full of old trees, misty shoreline, and natural light. The directorial style sometimes channels von Trier, del Torro, Almodovar, and even Kubrik, with an unflinching style characterized by lingering shots calculated to unnerve.
Too Edgy for Americans?? You Decide!
That these shots linger on some very disturbing images, especially in one very hard-to-watch sequence toward the end, seems a hallmark of this director’s approach to horror,
and one that may be challenging for American audiences, used to feeling safer within the conventions of the genre which, while dishing out its gross-outs, never forces us to stay with any one moment for too long. Some of the shots in Naciye, however, seem calculated to push the viewer far outside their comfort zone. This is a hard thing to do: take it too far and it ends up feeling manipulative and alienating the audience; do it well and the viewer ends up unsettled but with a sense that the disturbance was in service to a larger artistic goal (as in von Trier’s Antichrist, for example). In the hands of the masters, this can work beautifully. Has Çiçek joined their ranks, to the point that he can go to the edge and get an audience to follow? The jury is still out. For the time being, just watch and decide for yourself.
To view the trailer, for VOD streaming and Digital Download purchase on Vimeo OnDemand: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/naciye
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