Review by LukeRipa
Horror is one of the genre that most suits for the debut of a director, as it can give freedom to the artist and its choice. However, it’s also a risky move as so many directors try to start out with this genre, and unfortunately there is a sort of a race regarding ‘how do it better with little money’. And, thing that very few people forget to mention, every time you make these movies (actually, any genre applies to this concept) you go against those giants productions that are shot in Hollywood.
Naciye, Turkish film directed by Luftu Emre Cicek, it’s an interesting movie by this point of view, that unfortunately falls victim of some choices that make the entire opera a miss. The story is simple: Bengi and Bertan, a relatively young couple expecting a baby, go to a seaside house for the weekend. However, a sinister old lady, named Naciye, claims the property of such house.
The premises are at very least refreshing for what concerns the home invasion concept (which anyways is a slasher subgenre), especially in what concerns the plot and the motivation behind such actions by the old lady. But if the conceptual idea works, the script misses more then hitting: the various plots, from Bengi multiple lovers (who’s the affair?), the old lady’s brother/lover (not really clear), the old lady’s son, the first killing scene that it’s totally anticlimactic, and the entire ‘Simin’ scene seems to have been realized to intercut with the blackout scene, because otherwise is completely useless to the overall narration. That said, Naciye’s flashbacks are really well done, thanks to both writing and actor’s performance. Another thing that is really well written, is the relationship between Bengi and Bertan, also here accompanied by really good acting.
The house itself, unfortunately, doesn’t give much to the movie, except, as I said, in Naciye’s flashback. For instance, the house is clearly not isolated, making the place less scary then it is already, thanks to the intern color palette that doesn’t really fit a horror movie per se. The director tries to imply the isolation with carriages, which seems to be the only vehicle available in that place; unfortunately for him, the road is clearly built for cars, making the carriages look just out of place. In Naciye’s flashbacks, instead, the house is intelligently used by furnishing metaphors to the protagonist personality, passing from the prison look-alike interns and the freedom of the large patio on the sea; both things however aren’t really took advantage of in the rest of the movie, making the location looking mostly repetitive.
Another major problem is the editing, which doesn’t seem quite on point if not in the dramatic scenes. Here’s the thing: if the gore doesn’t look real enough, don’t show it; here, they show it, and it doesn’t look real at all, making those scene mostly ridiculous. Also, the editing seems to ‘punish’ Naciye, played by Derya Alabora, which honestly doesn’t look sinister; she may look crazy, but not actually to be able to kill someone, and when it happens, well, you just don’t buy it.
Impressive, instead, is the cinematography, which furnishes a very good looking image overall; only thing in this case is the urgency of camera movement over static shots, which is just distracting in some moments. The soundtrack doesn’t always help, as it’s perfectly placed in some scenes, while in other fells really misplaced.
Overall, it isn’t a movie I would suggest to everyone, but only to horror fanatics that are looking for something different, which Naciye really is. It just really seems that the tight budget ‘castrated’ a script, that for some reason is way deeper and performing than the movie seen on the screen. For these reasons I will keep an eye on Lutfu Emre Cicek’s future.
Naciye World Premiere at ScreamFest LA on Thursday, October 15.