Review: The Forest

By Christian DiMartino

Yo. Sorry I haven’t posted anything in a while. Oh wait, that’s right: You don’t care. Regardless, let’s get down to it.

January is a no-no-notoriously bad month for films, unless you count the wide releases of Oscar contenders (The RevenantAnomalisa). But I don’t count those. I count the new releases, like The Forest, a film that reminds us of January’s bad reputation.

The Forest is a ludicrously dumb thriller with a decent performance from Natalie Dormer, a few interesting ideas… and that’s pretty much it. The central premise is a fairly interesting one, but like a lot of films these days, it doesn’t know what to do with it, hence why it settles for painful cliches.

Dormer plays Sara, a woman who travels to Japan in order to find her twin sister, Jess. She has some weird run-ins when she gets there, but she soon realizes that Jess has gone into the Aokigahara Forest. So what? Just a walk in the woods? Nope. Turns out, people go into this forest whenever they’re planning to commit suicide. So with the help of a guy named Aiden (Taylor Kinney), she sets off to find her sister. But there’s something deeper and more… well, haunting, in this forest than she’s expecting.

The interesting thing about the premise is the fact that Aokigahara is a real forest. But yet the first hour of The Forest is kind of painful. It fails to offer anything of interest, and here and there it throws in a predictable, cliche jump scare that misses the mark, but succeeds comedically. Probably not what they’re going for.

Things finally pick up in the last half hour, but by that point, it’s too little too late. All caring is gone. But this is where the interesting ideas thing comes into play. But yet even when you think this film might work, it doesn’t. It’s far too goofy to take seriously, and my point is proven especially in the final scene, in which we’re shown probably the cheesiest visual effects in recent memory.

I laughed a lot during The Forest, and yet I felt pity for Dormer. For a film this stupid, she gives a surprisingly solid performance. Too bad she had to waste it on a movie like this.

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