Title – The Forest (2016)
Director – Jason Zada (feature debut)
Cast – Natalie Dormer, Taylor Kinney, Eoin Macken
Plot – American Sara (Dormer) heads to Japan to search for her twin sister (also Dormer) who was last seen entering the Japanese Suicide Forest of Aokigahara. What Sara finds within the forest will test her very will to survive.
“It’s hard to explain, but I can just feel it”
Review by Eddie on 27/09/2016
The last two horror films that I watched before partaking in Jason Zada’s The Forest were Robert Egger’s atmospheric and unique The Witch and James Wan brilliant sequel The Conjuring 2. Both are in their own ways smart and effective horror films, filled with interesting characters and a fair share of chills and thrills, they’re reminders of how good the horror genre can be and reminders of just how average and forgettable films like The Forest are.
The Forest is sadly yet another horror film produced on a low budget with very little effort and released in a way that allows it to generate a quick bundle of cash at cinemas (or through rentals and sales like here in Australia) before being forgotten about in a manner of months and it’s not like anyone involved cares as there’s not an ounce of imagination or inventiveness in Zada’s film, which is a shame as unlike many other films moulded in the same way as The Forest, this film actually had potential.
The Japanese suicide forest of Aokigahara is a well-documented location with years of lore and myths attached to it but Zada fails to delve into anything worthwhile when Natalie Dormer (struggling outside of her Game of Thrones fame) Sara goes looking for her twin sister Jess when she was last seen heading into the forest before her disappearance. We get characters we don’t care about, lame flashbacks, stilted dialogue and more tame scares than you can shine an I-Phone at and the setting of the Aokigahara forest is largely wasted in shot mainly at night set pieces and odd character decisions.
There’s nothing worse than wasted potential and there’s not many worse genre attributes than by the numbers studio horrors that have been hacked out without much thought or consideration and The Forest is both of these things, which makes for an overwhelming forgettable experience that deserves to be buried deep in the woods.
1 yellow tent out of 5