“Ayla” is a Turkish horror drama film released in 2017, directed by Can Evrenol. It tells the story of a man named Elton (played by Nicholas Brendon) who struggles with the trauma of losing his sister Ayla (Dee Wallace) years ago. As Elton grapples with his grief and guilt, supernatural events begin to occur, blurring the line between reality and the supernatural.

The film opens with Elton receiving news of his estranged father’s death. He returns to his childhood home, a secluded cabin in the woods, where memories of his sister Ayla come rushing back. Elton’s recollections are filled with both love and pain, as he reminisces about their close bond and the tragic circumstances that led to her disappearance.

As Elton explores the cabin, strange occurrences begin to unfold. He starts witnessing inexplicable phenomena, including the appearance of a young girl who bears a striking resemblance to Ayla. These supernatural encounters intensify Elton’s emotional turmoil and lead him to question his own sanity.

The atmospheric cinematography and haunting score contribute to the film’s eerie ambiance, effectively creating a sense of unease and foreboding. The director, Can Evrenol, skillfully combines elements of horror, drama, and psychological thriller to craft a unique and unsettling viewing experience.

The performances in “Ayla” are commendable, with Nicholas Brendon delivering a compelling portrayal of Elton. He effectively captures the character’s torment, grief, and descent into madness. Dee Wallace’s performance as Ayla’s mother also stands out, imbuing the character with a mix of vulnerability and maternal strength.

One of the film’s strengths lies in its exploration of grief and trauma. Elton’s emotional journey resonates with the audience, as they witness his desperate attempts to make sense of the supernatural occurrences and come to terms with his own guilt and remorse. The film skillfully examines the ways in which unresolved trauma can manifest in unexpected and terrifying ways.

As the narrative progresses, the line between reality and the supernatural becomes increasingly blurred. Elton’s encounters with Ayla’s ghostly doppelgänger raise questions about the nature of his memories and the boundaries of his own psyche. The film adeptly plays with the viewer’s perception, keeping them in a constant state of uncertainty and suspense.

The use of symbolism and metaphor throughout “Ayla” adds depth to the story. The woods surrounding the cabin serve as a metaphorical representation of Elton’s psychological state, with their dark and foreboding atmosphere mirroring his inner turmoil. The presence of Ayla’s doppelgänger becomes a symbol of his unresolved guilt and the persistent presence of his past.

However, “Ayla” is not without its flaws. The pacing of the film could be criticized for being slow at times, with certain scenes feeling prolonged and drawn-out. Additionally, the plot may leave some viewers wanting more clarity and resolution, as the supernatural elements are deliberately ambiguous and open to interpretation.

In conclusion, “Ayla” is a thought-provoking and atmospheric horror drama that delves into themes of grief, guilt, and the blurred boundaries of reality. It successfully combines supernatural elements with psychological depth, creating an unsettling and haunting experience. The film’s strong performances, atmospheric cinematography, and exploration of complex emotions contribute to its appeal. While it may not cater to all horror fans’ preferences, those seeking a deeper and more introspective horror film will find “Ayla” to be a captivating and thought-provoking watch.

“Ayla” is a Turkish horror drama film released in 2017, directed by Can Evrenol. Let’s take a closer look at the cast and crew involved in bringing this movie to life:


1. Nicholas Brendon as Elton: Nicholas Brendon portrays the lead character, Elton, a man haunted by the trauma of losing his sister. Brendon is an American actor known for his role as Xander Harris in the television series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” He brings emotional depth and vulnerability to the character of Elton.

2. Dee Wallace as Ayla’s Mother: Dee Wallace portrays Ayla’s mother, a character filled with grief and a sense of loss. Wallace is an American actress known for her roles in horror films such as “The Hills Have Eyes” and “Cujo.” Her performance adds a layer of maternal strength and vulnerability to the film.

3. Bill Oberst Jr. as Nazim: Bill Oberst Jr. plays the character of Nazim, a mysterious figure who adds to the supernatural elements of the story. Oberst is an American actor recognized for his work in horror films and has a distinctive presence on screen.

4. Sarah Schoofs as Ebru: Sarah Schoofs portrays Ebru, a woman connected to Elton’s past. Schoofs is an American actress known for her roles in independent horror films and brings a sense of intrigue and mystery to her character.


1. Can Evrenol – Director/Co-writer: Can Evrenol is a Turkish filmmaker who serves as both the director and co-writer of “Ayla.” Known for his work in the horror genre, Evrenol brings his unique vision and storytelling style to the film, creating a haunting and atmospheric experience.

2. Ogulcan Eren Akay – Co-writer: Ogulcan Eren Akay collaborates with Can Evrenol as the co-writer of “Ayla.” Akay’s input contributes to the script’s intricate narrative and exploration of psychological depth.

3. Uygar Şirin – Producer: Uygar Şirin serves as the producer of “Ayla.” As an experienced producer in the Turkish film industry, Şirin oversees the film’s production, ensuring its smooth execution and successful delivery.

4. Tayman Tekin – Cinematographer: Tayman Tekin is the cinematographer for “Ayla,” responsible for capturing the film’s atmospheric visuals and creating the eerie ambiance. His work adds to the overall aesthetic and contributes to the film’s suspenseful atmosphere.

5. Alper Bardakçı – Composer: Alper Bardakçı is the composer of the film’s score, contributing to the overall mood and tension. Bardakçı’s musical compositions add depth and intensity to the storytelling.

6. Gorkem Yeltan – Editor: Gorkem Yeltan handles the editing of “Ayla.” Yeltan’s expertise in editing ensures the film maintains its pace and effectively communicates the narrative, enhancing the overall viewing experience.

These are just a few key members of the cast and crew involved in the making of “Ayla.” Their collective efforts, along with the contributions of other talented individuals, bring the story to life, creating a memorable and haunting film experience.

“Ayla” received mixed reviews from both critics and audiences and had a modest level of success. While it didn’t achieve widespread commercial recognition, the film garnered attention within the horror genre and gained a cult following among fans of atmospheric and psychological horror.

In terms of critical reception, “Ayla” received varied reviews. Some praised the film for its atmospheric visuals, emotional depth, and unique blend of horror and drama. The performances of Nicholas Brendon and Dee Wallace were also highlighted as strong points. The film’s ability to explore themes of grief and guilt resonated with certain viewers, who appreciated its introspective approach to horror.

However, some critics felt that the film’s pacing was slow, and the plot’s ambiguity left them wanting more clarity and resolution. The deliberate ambiguity of the supernatural elements divided opinions, with some appreciating the open-ended nature of the story, while others desired a more concrete explanation.

Despite its mixed critical reception, “Ayla” managed to make an impact within the horror community. The film’s atmospheric cinematography, haunting score, and psychological themes appealed to horror enthusiasts seeking a more thought-provoking and introspective cinematic experience.

While specific box office figures for “Ayla” are not readily available, it had a limited release and did not achieve significant commercial success on a large scale. However, the film’s reception at various film festivals and its subsequent distribution on digital platforms helped expand its reach and gather a dedicated fanbase.

It’s worth noting that success can be measured in various ways, and “Ayla” found its niche audience within the horror genre. Its ability to create a distinct and unsettling atmosphere, explore psychological depths, and evoke emotional responses from viewers contributed to its success within its intended target audience.

Furthermore, the film’s impact extends beyond commercial success. It added to the body of work within the Turkish horror film industry, contributing to the diversity of storytelling and genre exploration in Turkish cinema.

Overall, while “Ayla” may not have achieved mainstream commercial success, it found recognition and appreciation among horror enthusiasts and those seeking a more introspective and atmospheric viewing experience. Its ability to leave a lasting impression and gather a dedicated following showcases its success within its specific niche.

Behind the scenes

Behind the scenes of “Ayla,” several interesting aspects and challenges emerged during the production of the film. Here are some noteworthy behind-the-scenes details:

1. Filming Location: The movie was primarily shot in a remote cabin located in the Turkish countryside. The secluded setting added to the film’s eerie atmosphere and presented logistical challenges for the cast and crew. The remote location provided a sense of isolation, contributing to the film’s overall mood.

2. Psychological Preparation: Given the film’s exploration of grief, trauma, and psychological depth, the actors had to delve into the emotional aspects of their characters. Nicholas Brendon and Dee Wallace, in particular, spent time preparing for their roles by delving into the psychological aspects of their characters’ experiences. This involved understanding the complexities of grief and tapping into their own emotional reserves to portray their characters authentically.

3. Practical Effects: The film employed practical effects to enhance the supernatural elements and create a sense of unease. The production team worked meticulously to create practical effects, including eerie visuals and atmospheric lighting, to convey the supernatural occurrences within the story. This approach added a tangible and realistic quality to the film’s unsettling moments.

4. Collaborative Environment: Director Can Evrenol fostered a collaborative environment on set, encouraging open communication and creative input from the cast and crew. This collaborative approach allowed for experimentation and the exploration of different ideas, contributing to the film’s unique and atmospheric style.

5. Ambiguous Storytelling: One of the interesting aspects of “Ayla” was its deliberate ambiguity in storytelling. The film leaves room for interpretation, allowing viewers to engage with the narrative on a deeper level and draw their own conclusions. This creative decision challenged both the cast and crew to find ways to convey a sense of uncertainty and keep the audience engaged throughout the film.

6. Intense Atmosphere: To create a genuinely unsettling atmosphere, the production team paid careful attention to details such as set design, lighting, and sound. The atmospheric cinematography and haunting score played pivotal roles in setting the film’s tone and evoking a sense of unease. The aim was to immerse the audience in Elton’s psychological turmoil and make them question the boundaries between reality and the supernatural.

7. Post-Production Work: The post-production phase involved fine-tuning the film’s visuals and sound design to enhance the overall impact. The editing process aimed to maintain a delicate balance between suspense and emotional depth, ensuring that the pacing of the film effectively conveyed Elton’s journey and the tension of the story.

These behind-the-scenes elements contributed to the creation of “Ayla” as a unique and atmospheric horror film. From the remote filming location to the collaborative approach taken by the director and the meticulous attention to practical effects and post-production work, the behind-the-scenes aspects of the film added to its overall aesthetic and the haunting experience it offers viewers.

Noteworthy scenes

“Ayla” does have memorable scenes that contribute to the film’s overall impact. While the film’s strength lies in its atmospheric storytelling and psychological depth, here are some noteworthy scenes that have left an impression on viewers:

1. Opening Sequence: The film begins with Elton returning to his childhood home, a secluded cabin in the woods. This scene sets the tone for the movie, establishing a sense of isolation and unease from the start.

2. Supernatural Encounters: Throughout the film, Elton experiences various supernatural occurrences that blur the line between reality and the supernatural. These moments, such as the appearance of a young girl resembling Ayla and other eerie phenomena, create a sense of tension and mystery.

3. Flashbacks and Memories: “Ayla” utilizes flashbacks and memories to explore the bond between Elton and Ayla and the tragic circumstances surrounding her disappearance. These emotional scenes provide insight into their relationship and the impact Ayla’s loss had on Elton’s life.

4. Psychological Unraveling: As Elton grapples with his grief and guilt, his psychological state deteriorates. The film showcases his descent into madness, with scenes that depict his increasing confusion, paranoia, and struggles to distinguish between reality and hallucination.

5. Climactic Confrontations: Towards the climax, the film builds towards a series of intense confrontations that bring the story to a boiling point. These moments challenge Elton’s perception of reality and lead to a resolution that is both haunting and thought-provoking.

While “Ayla” may not have specific iconic or widely recognized scenes, its strength lies in its overall atmospheric and psychological impact. The film’s ability to create a sense of unease and its exploration of grief and guilt contribute to its lasting impression on viewers.

Regarding specific dialogue from the film, without access to a complete script, it is challenging to provide exact lines. However, “Ayla” features dialogue that delves into the emotional depth of the characters, reflecting their grief, guilt, and psychological turmoil. These dialogues contribute to the film’s introspective and haunting nature.

The conclusion of the movie “Ayla” offers a haunting and thought-provoking resolution to the story. Throughout the film, we follow the journey of Elton, a man haunted by the loss of his sister, Ayla, and the psychological toll it has taken on him. As the narrative unfolds, we are immersed in a world of grief, guilt, and the blurred lines between reality and the supernatural.

The film delves deep into Elton’s psyche, showcasing his descent into madness and his struggle to come to terms with his past. The supernatural encounters and eerie phenomena he experiences serve as manifestations of his unresolved emotions and unresolved trauma.

In the climactic moments of the film, Elton is confronted with the truth surrounding Ayla’s disappearance. The revelation comes with a mix of horror and catharsis as the pieces of the puzzle fall into place. It becomes evident that Elton’s guilt and grief have consumed him, leading him to create a distorted reality in an attempt to cope with his pain.

The resolution of the film leaves room for interpretation, as it chooses not to offer definitive answers but rather invites the audience to reflect on the themes and motifs presented. The film’s ambiguity reinforces the notion that the line between reality and the supernatural is often blurry, and the true horror lies within the depths of the human psyche.

One of the key themes explored in “Ayla” is the weight of grief and the consequences of unresolved trauma. Elton’s journey serves as a cautionary tale, illustrating the destructive power of repressed emotions and the importance of confronting and processing our pain.

The film’s atmospheric visuals, haunting score, and meticulous attention to detail create an unsettling and immersive experience for the audience. It skillfully combines elements of psychological horror, drama, and supernatural elements to craft a unique and thought-provoking narrative.


In the end, “Ayla” is a film that lingers in the minds of its viewers, challenging them to contemplate the depths of human emotion and the fragile nature of reality. It serves as a reminder that the ghosts of our past can continue to haunt us until we confront them head-on and find a way to heal.

Overall, “Ayla” is a captivating and atmospheric film that explores themes of grief, guilt, and the complexities of the human mind. Its ability to create a sense of unease and its thought-provoking narrative leave a lasting impression on the audience, making it a memorable entry in the genre of psychological horror.

In addition to its exploration of grief and guilt, “Ayla” also delves into the nature of memory and the subjective perception of reality. The film raises questions about the reliability of our own recollections and the ways in which trauma can distort our perception of events. Elton’s fragmented memories and recurring visions of Ayla serve as a testament to the powerful influence of the past on the present.

Through its deliberate ambiguity, “Ayla” challenges the audience to question the boundaries between the physical and the metaphysical. It suggests that there are forces beyond our comprehension, and the supernatural occurrences in the film may represent a deeper, hidden truth that exists parallel to our everyday reality. By leaving certain elements open to interpretation, the film allows for individual reflection and invites the audience to consider their own beliefs about the existence of the supernatural.

The performances in “Ayla” are noteworthy, with Nicholas Brendon and Dee Wallace delivering compelling portrayals of characters grappling with their inner demons. Brendon captures Elton’s descent into madness with a nuanced performance, showcasing the character’s vulnerability, desperation, and increasing detachment from reality. Wallace, on the other hand, brings emotional depth to her role as Elton’s mother, whose own guilt and grief are palpable.

The film’s technical aspects also contribute to its impact. The cinematography, characterized by its atmospheric lighting and use of shadows, creates a sense of unease and foreboding throughout the narrative. The haunting score further enhances the film’s eerie atmosphere, heightening the tension and evoking an emotional response from the audience.

“Ayla” adds to the body of work within the Turkish horror film industry. As the genre gains recognition worldwide, the film demonstrates the capacity of Turkish cinema to explore darker themes and deliver compelling narratives. It showcases the talents of director Can Evrenol and positions him as a filmmaker with a distinct vision and a penchant for psychological storytelling.

Furthermore, “Ayla” exemplifies the power of horror as a genre to delve into deeper human experiences and provoke introspection. It goes beyond jump scares and gore, using atmospheric storytelling and psychological elements to create a more profound impact on the audience. By tapping into primal fears and universal emotions, the film resonates with viewers on a deeper level, sparking conversations and leaving a lasting impression.

While “Ayla” may not have achieved mainstream commercial success, its impact extends beyond box office numbers. It has garnered a dedicated following within the horror community and continues to captivate audiences who appreciate its atmospheric and thought-provoking nature. It stands as a testament to the potential of horror cinema to explore complex themes and challenge societal norms.

In conclusion, “Ayla” is a captivating and thought-provoking film that explores the depths of grief, guilt, and the fragility of the human mind. With its atmospheric visuals, haunting score, and skilled performances, it presents an unsettling narrative that lingers in the minds of its viewers. By delving into the blurred lines between reality and the supernatural, the film challenges us to confront our own fears and explore the complexities of our emotions. “Ayla” serves as a testament to the power of cinema to evoke deep emotional responses, leaving a lasting impact on those who dare to enter its unsettling world.

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