Movie Review – The Forest

 

The forest is a 2016 supernatural horror movie directed by Jason Zada and written by Ben Ketai, Nick Antosca, and Sarah Cornwell. The movie stars Natalie Dormer (Game Of Thrones) and Taylor Kinney(Chicago Fire).

The movie is basically about a determined twin who takes a red-eye trip to Japan, in search of her lost twin sister.

Plot Summary

Sarah (Natalie Dormer) awakens from a nightmare of a lady running in a forest. She packs up her luggage and sets off to Japan in search of her lost twin sister, Jess, believed to be last seen going into the Aokigahara forest (a forest known for the suicidal and for being home to Japanese ghosts called Yurei). Her finance, Rob (Eoin Macken) advises against it but she is determined to find Jess.

She arrives in Japan and takes shelter at the hotel Jess stayed at. She goes out to the streets of Japan but returns to her room restless. She reminisces about Jess and looks up the forest. Horrified, she falls asleep but ends up waking up to a nightmare of her sister turning into a ghost. The next morning, She goes over to the school where Jess was a teacher but the students upon seeing her, becomes frightened thinking she was the ghost of Jess.

After turning deaf ears to endless warnings, she sets off into the forest with the aid of Aiden (Taylor Kinney), a journalist and the park nature guide, Michi (Yukiyoshi Ozawa). After wandering the forest for quite some time, Michi advises that they leave before the sun sets but Sarah decides otherwise after finding Jess’s tent and clothes. Aiden reluctantly stays behind to protect Sarah and Michi sets off, promising to return in the morning. He also advises them not to leave the camp no matter what they see or hear.

At night, Sarah awakes from a nightmare, she sees a figure and chases after it, far from the camp, the figure is revealed to be a lost student who advises Sarah not to trust Aiden, she runs away and Sarah hurts her palm as she falls while chasing her, Aiden arrives to the rescue. At dawn, he advises they set forth out of the forest. Sarah tries to convince him to wait till Michi returns but he insists they get treatment in time for her hand.

As they progress on the journey, the forest plays mind games with Sarah, from toying with her mind about Aiden being evil to her nightmares becoming reality, eventually she succumbs to the tricks and ends up killing Aiden and eventually herself. Unknown to her, her ghost continues the journey, running for help. Jess, lost in the forest hears the voices of the searchers (Michi, Rob and other guards) and runs towards them as Sarah runs behind her. Jess gets to the searchers in time and into the arms of Rob. He asks Jess for Sarah but she states, surprised, that she had not seen her. Sarah is stopped in her tracks by the ghost of the student who points to Sarah’s hand, revealing the cut on her wrist. Sarah realizes that she is indeed a ghost and suddenly, the ghosts from underneath reach out and pulls her into the ground.

As the searchers leave, Michi looks into the forest and sees the ghost of Sarah, now decomposed and evil.

The End

The overall picture looked great and had a tad bit of an eerie feel to it… unfortunately, that’s pretty much the most positive thing I can think of about this movie.

“The Forest” was one of the slowest, non scary and highly disappointing horror movies I have come across this year and that’s saying a lot! Normally a scare or two is fine by me but sitting through a horror with no jumps is just disappointing.

The plots were weak and all the actions and steps taken by the characters were dumb. I understand it is a common trait in horror movies with comebacks but this had none whatsoever.

It was also funny that the best disguise used to distinguish both sisters was by dressing up the troubled one (Jesse) to look somewhat as a rock chic and the other on the more serious/sophisticated side. I mean, not all rock chicks have childhood issues people!Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 08.16.10

Also the “twist” at the end left me with endless questions… I am just trying to understand how the supposed missing Jess just randomly ends up sitting by the camp fire? I mean, she’s been missing for 5 days, Sarah and Aiden slept all night at the same camp and the search team were roaming the forest all day into night…. Am I suppose to believe she was just chilling somewhere in the forest, reading a book and then decided to just take a stroll back to her tent? 

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If the forest feeds off our sadness and was able to manipulate Sarah to the point of killing herself, then how did Jess survive? According to the story, Jess was suicidal and also extremely depressed… and yet she miraculously survived in the forest for 5 days?

Also, considering their bond was super strong to the point of Sarah feeling if Jess was alive, gone or in trouble… or better yet close, how come Jess didn’t feel a thing while in the same forest with her sister, till she reached out to the rescue team? How did she conveniently know the right direction to run to meet the rescue team?

On to Aiden. So, let me try to understand this part, Aiden originally stayed back with Sarah in the forest in order to protect her (and slightly because he knew she will make dumb decisions and leave her tent after been warned not to) and ensure they are both safe by the tent but yet  manages to sleep through the whole ordeal of Sarah and the Yurei? He also randomly decides it’s best for them to wander the forest to safe land just because Sarah had a cut on her hand? Even though the bleeding was under control? He just didn’t think it was wise to wait the remaining few hours for the guard to come get them?

Also, if they say the yureis and forest as a whole is worse at nighttime, why was it worse at daytime? Sure the yurei whispered to Sarah to not trust Aiden during the night but that was as far as it got. All the hunting, hallucinations, road manipulations and eventually death, took place in the daytime so I am lost there.

By the way, I love how all the students are creeped out by the resemblance of both Sarah and Jess to the point of thinking she’s a ghost but yet the lady in the cabin with the dead bodies welcome her with a big smile.

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The cheap scares were priceless! Starting from the ghost face, to the random trees, leaves, water, snail and name calling…. priceless! Don’t get me wrong, I love trees and I think they did a fantastic job in the pace and setting in “The Witch” but it was poorly executed in this movie.

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But this was my most favorite scare moment, Sarah hears the whisper of her name and turns towards the direction… but there was something random about the actions of everyone that I personally can’t explain but couldn’t stop laughing about.

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My other favorite moments were all the intense stares, from random guy on the street to random guy in the bus, yeah…. good job guys! I won’t stare at strangers anymore!

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The product placements were all done properly… except the part with the Japanese snacks that lingered on further than the rest.

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Completely random, but why does the ending scene of her dragged into the ground by all the ghosts look so familiar to the ending of Drag me to hell?

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And also the posters?

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Also, that random ending “supposed” scare? There is no amount of popcorn and tequila shots that is worthy of convincing me to see “The Forest 2”, should they for some unknown reason decide to make a sequel…. DON’T!

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Overall, good job from everyone…. definitely worth the one time watch for good ole laughs but if anyone expects to get scared or spill a drink…. you will be highly disappointed.

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