The Forest: Film Review

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I do not like horror movies and I have done pretty well in avoiding them (except the really buzzworthy ones) since my horror-loving heyday as a teenager. But I thought The Forest would be the worth checking out because of Natalie Dormer and because I find the mythology behind the Aokigahara Forest fascinating. But sadly, it’s not very good.

Dormer is Sara Price, an American who travels to Japan after receiving a phone call that her twin sister Jess has gone missing and was last spotted heading into the Aokigahara Forest, a notorious suicide area. Sara is convinced Jess is still alive due to some sort of psychic twin connection so she enters the forest herself with travel reporter Aiden (Taylor Kinney) and a guide. The guide urges them to leave the forest before dark, but the other two decided to stay once they discover Jess’ tent.

The forest is not somewhere you want to stay after dark – according to the film, it makes a person hallucinate, preys on their fears and forces them to kill themselves. Perfect idea for a horror movie! You are on edge most of the time because you don’t know what’s just about to happen.

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The disappointing thing about The Forest is that it would have worked better as a psychological thriller than a horror. Once Sara’s mind is well and truly comprised by the area, she is convinced Aiden is a bad guy who wants to kill both sisters – is that true? Is she imaging things? Who is he? It’s very interesting and I loved those scenes between the two leads.

The horror aspect was so weak and predictable. It relies on cheap jumps which is a shame because the premise is strong enough so filmmakers should have been able to produce better scares. This will not make horror fans happy because the scares are not scary enough and the jumps are always so obviously built up that it loses impact. The ending is also a bit annoying.

The film does have a straight-to-DVD vibe and it probably would have been if it wasn’t for the top cast, who do a great job at a making a so-so horror watchable, Dormer in particular. This is not terrible by any means, and I did enjoy it, but it is forgettable and unoriginal and will not be remembered in a few months’ time.

In cinemas Friday 26th February 

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