The Forest

The Forest [2016] is a horror-adventure film directed by Jason Zada and stars Natalie Dormer as a woman who decides to venture into the eerie Japanese Suicide Forest in search of her lost twin sister.

Beautiful…looking? The film was mostly shot on location, which definitely shows off the visual capabilities of Director Jason Zada. He shows off some impressive shots of the forest and Japanese landscapes. The atmosphere of the forest itself is also pretty cool in itself. You’ll just wish Zada actually did something with it.

Free of scares. The biggest crime a horror film can commit is not being scary and The Forest is the frontrunner for the most boring (I know the year just started) horror film of the year. Next to nothing happens plot-wise besides Dormer and her hiking partner wandering through the wilderness with a few instances of nice looking b-roll cut in. There is no real sense of dread and I can count the amount of actual “scares” (if you want to call them that) on my right hand. Characters just sort of walk around the forest bickering to each other:

“Your sister’s dead”,
“No, she isn’t. She’s alive.”
“Okay, we’ll keep looking then.”

Rinse & repeat for an hour and a half. Towards the end of the last act where things start to happen (and trust me, they randomly do happen) it all happens in a span of ten minutes. It feels rushed and extremely amateurish.

Lost in Translation and lost of interest. At times I could definitely see the influence of films like Lost in Translation and Under the Skin where the plot doesn’t really play a huge role a much as the tone and mood does. Unfortunately, the thing The Forest completely misses is that good mood-pieces have interesting or unique characters that invest us into the films. However, this film has none of these qualities. Natalie Dormer (who’s fine in the film, she works with what little she has) is cookie cutter thin and has nothing interesting to say; which is more to say than her hiking partner who is so insanely boring he makes Dormer seems like she’s channeling the most interesting parts of Johnny Depp in the Pirates of the Caribbean films in comparison.

The Forest is boring, scare-free and while isn’t overtly offensive, is your average garbage January horror release.