Dozens of people who have committed suicide were found every year for many years in Aokigahara Forest, in the northwestern side of Mount Fuji, Japan. In the recent years, that number has been in the hundreds. It's a phenomenon that some people believe to be supernatural in nature. In this film, The Forest, a woman named Sarah Price, (Natalie Dormer), takes a journey into that Suicide Forest to search for her identical twin sister, Jess. Though she is warned several times about what is said to happen in there, she goes in anyway, with the help of a journalist who is familiar with the grounds, Aiden (Taylor Kinney), who in turn brings on a professional guide to help them find their way on the grounds.
Clearly the film is meant to be a supernatural thriller or horror. But what I found intriguing and involving was the dramatic and emotional aspect to not only the story itself but the characters. Typically in a movie like this, you learn quite little about the characters, as it is mostly about the scares. But what I adored about this story was the fact that it was an actual story and not just a plot that you can just hang your hat and coat on and be done away with.
As the film goes on and the story progresses, you learn more and more about the characters of Sarah and Jess Price, both played with finesse and brilliance by Game Of Thrones actress, Natalie Dormer. She walked a tight rope in bringing to life twins, and yet, two very different characters in personality. She was able to find that balance quite well. What we're told and what we see are two different things in this film, that is the second factor I loved about the movie. Whether what we're told are by characters or not, ultimately what we see is contradictory. And that plays convincingly well into the psychological aspect of this dramatic horror film! The music is also subtle but powerful, and yet not overwhelming. Which is the opposite direction that most movies like this tends to go. But that's what I loved about this film, the music was woven in wonderfully.
Director Jason Zada did very well as this was his debut feature film! His direction was solid and honest. And though a lot of the scares were pretty cheesy and predictable, he did know where to place them. There was this creepy, eerie factor that played into the story and the scares that seemed to soften the blow of those cheesy jump scares, and made them tolerable. With The Forest, you will certainly get more than just a scary flick to watch on a Friday night. You will get well rounded characters, a chilling tragic story and an actual real life concept that lends itself perfectly to this type of film! Do yourself a favor and check it out! Now in theaters!
The Forest Movie Review
by Phillip Wilcox "Our Movie Demon"