The Forest currently has a 9% on Rotten Tomatoes… this will be fun.
The Forest stars Natalie Dormer (Game of Thrones, Rush) as twins Sara & Jess and Taylor Kinney (Chicago Fire). It’s directed by first time director Jason Zada. Overall I didn’t hate The Forest, like I was expecting to.
Sara travels to Japan after her twin sister Jess goes into the Aokigahara Forest. The Aokigahara Forrest is known for being a place where people go to commit suicide, so Sara braves the forest to find her missing sister.
So the first thing is, The Forest isn’t scary. It’s a cool premise and should be terrifying but the film is just full of the same annoying jump scare over and over again. I found some enjoyment out of the film just based on the story and main character, not from being scared. Going in to this film I had low expectation, based on the Rotten Tomatoes score, so maybe that’s why I didn’t hate it as much as everyone else. The film is very far from perfect, I’d hesitate to even call it good but whilst I was watching I wasn’t bored or waiting for it to end. That being said I can see why it got such brutal reviews.
Like I said the premise is really cool because the forest is a real place in Japan, so instantly there is fear. Watching this film and knowing that there have been a lot of suicides in the real forest was very unsettling. All of that is lost when you find out afterwards they couldn’t shoot in the real forest, so the film is shot in Serbia and a warehouse. Not knowing that didn’t take away from the experience when watching it but afterwards it did take away from the atmosphere of the film. I’m sure this would also hurt repeat viewing but no ones going to watch this film again anyway.
Natalie Dormer is one of my favorite actors on Game of Thrones and I was excited to see her in a leading role on the big screen. For me she was the only thing holding this film together, with a lesser actress it would have been completely unwatchable. She sells all her scenes well. You buy into her wanting to save her sister and when she scared you believe shes scared. She does also play the twin who is lost in the forest but there’s not much to that character and we don’t see her on screen very often, I’ll come back to that point later. The supporting cast was OK. There wasn’t any terrible performances, that usually ruin horror films. Taylor Kinney play a guy, that goes with Sara into the forest and I thought he was good. Nothing special, very generic but the character had some interesting moments.
The Forest is supposed to be a horror but it’s not scary at all. The film starts with jump scares constantly so you not what your in for straight away. I’m not against jump scares but when it’s the same one over and over again, it gets redundant really fast. The tension builds and builds, then a creepy face pops up on the screen. I wasn’t counting but this probably happened about ten times at least. The weird part is it doesn’t just happen in the forest but outside the forest in the boring first 30 minutes. They didn’t try to create any other kind of horror throughout the film, so that aspect of the film (which I guess should be the most important) didn’t work at all.
This film missed an opportunity, that I think could have really helped it. I think the film should have followed both twins in the forest trying to find each other. You could have let Natalie Dormer really showcase how good she is as an actress by playing both characters. In an interview she said what drew her to the film was the idea of playing two characters, so she would have been down to do it. With the backstory given in the film to the twins, I think it would have been really interesting to delve into how each twin would cope in the forest, instead of just following Sara. You find out in the film that an event in the sisters lives changed one of them, it’s what makes them different and what would have made them both fascinating to follow in the forest. The film is more of a psychological thriller anyway, so this idea would have worked much better, with the style of film they were making. I would have also got rid of the first 30 minutes and started the film at the forest. I would have had no other actors and made the film a more personal, about two sisters trying to find each other.
I didn’t hate this film, I enjoyed it while I was watching it but that still doesn’t mean it was good. I really like the idea of the Aokigahara Forest and would like to see a better film set there. The lead performance was very good, the story was OK but the the horror elements really let the film down. The more I think about it, the more I’m really liking my idea for the film and liking the film itself less. This kind of film is one I will forget and never revisit, it’s bad but it’s not good.
Have you seen The Forest and did you like it? Do you think my idea would have been better or just as crappy (probably just as crappy)?