Review: ‘School’

Turkish cinema gets its first dose of youth-oriented genre cinema with a high school horror movie directed by two siblings in their 30s. Slickly made movie, with a bright young cast largely from TV, makes an impressive calling card for the Taylan Brothers, even if it's light on real shocks. Offshore fantasy and genre events should give it a spin.

Turkish cinema gets its first dose of youth-oriented genre cinema with “School,” a high school horror movie directed by two siblings in their 30s. Billing themselves the Taylan Brothers, Yagmur and Durul (the latter with TV series experience) present no immediate threat to established fraternal helming teams, but this slickly made movie, with a bright young cast largely from TV, makes an impressive calling card, even if it’s light on real shocks. Offshore fantasy and genre events should give it a spin.

In prologue, shy, literary Gokalp (Burak Altay) commits suicide after seemingly being snubbed by glamour puss Guldem (Nehir Erdogan). One year later, students prepping for their crucial university entrance exam are haunted by Gokalp’s ghost. Though the fun only really starts an hour in, the Taylans manage to sustain interest with plenty of incidental comedy and characterization (peppered with flashbacks) rather than overdosing on gore or f/x. Influence of U.S. genre pics is strong, though the story’s development (into a rather touching love story) and setting (Istanbul) are authentically local. Cast blends well, and editing and lensing are both smooth.

School

Turkey

Production

A Plato Film production. (International sales: Plato, Istanbul.) Produced by Sinan Cetin. Executive producer, Pinar Cetin. Directed by Yagmur Taylan, Durul Taylan. Screenplay, Dogu Yucel.

Crew

Camera (color, widescreen), Soykut Turan; editor, Murat Bolayir; music, Kevin Moore; art directors, Burak Topalakci, Srdjan Kurpjel. Reviewed at Istanbul Film Festival (competing), April 22, 2004. Running time: 103 MIN.

With

Burak Altay, Nehir Erdogan, Berk Hakman, Cem Kilic, Sinem Kobal, Melisa Sozen, Baris Yildiz, Deniz Akkaya, Hamdi Alkan, Emre Kinay, Ragga Oktay, Ali Sunal, Ahmet Mumtaz Taylan, Caner Ozyurtlu, Deniz Gungoren.
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