The Criminals (Les Criminels) Image

The Criminals (Les Criminels)

By Alan Ng | November 24, 2021

The trope of teens having sex in horror films has a twinge of reality in Serhat Karaaslan’s short film, The Criminals (Les Criminels). A young Turkish couple leaves their college dormitories for a romantic evening in town. They decide to get a hotel room and consummate their love. The problem is, according to Turkish law, not a single hotel will give them a room unless they can produce a marriage certificate. One hotel offers to provide them with two rooms for the price of one, but the owner would have to lock the girl in her room until morning.

Being the resourceful young adults they are, the couple decides to separately get rooms in another hotel and then hook up late at night. The two finally have a moment alone, and as their hormones start raging, there’s a knock/pounding at the door, and their night is about to take a very wrong turn.

“…not a single hotel will give them a room unless they can produce a marriage certificate.”

Two things are interesting about this story. One is the fact that there are laws preventing consenting adults from sharing a hotel room and that this puritanical belief is strictly enforced. The other is this sense that empowered citizens have that allows them to not only crack down on “crime,” but exact justice as law-enforcement turns a blind eye. It becomes mob or thug-like justice.

Writer/director Karaasian weaves together a thrilling tale that places you right in the shoes of these two young people. Though the short film is in the soft-R category, there probably should be a trigger warning attached. That is because of how real the narrative gets. Great stories make you feel, and The Criminals proves that the feeling doesn’t always have to be good.

The Criminals (Les Criminels) (2021)

Directed and Written: Serhat Karaaslan

Starring: Deniz Altan, Lorin Merhart, Erdem Senocak, Ercan Kesal, Cem Baza, etc.

Movie score: 8.5/10

The Criminals (Les Criminels) Image

"…places you right in the shoes of these two young people."

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