Director: Jason Zada
I sometimes have a habit of spontaneously finding a little film on a Thursday afternoon at the cinema and picking a winner. Not necessarily an amazing film but just one that makes it worth the admission fee.
The Forest certainly falls in to that category. Natalie Dormer (Game of Thrones) plays both halves of a set of identical twins, Sarah and Jess, although really the story is set that Sarah is our main protagonist.
Sarah is prompted to fly to Japan where her Jess has believed to have entered Aokigahara Forest, a place well-known as a suicide spot. The forest also carries stories and myth that it actually presents ghosts that lead visitors to the forest to take fatal action upon themselves.
Upon arriving at the forest Sarah meets Aiden (Taylor Kinney) who claims to be a journalist writing a piece related to the forest. Over a few drinks Sarah tells the story of her parents and how they were killed in what she believed was a car crash. This event would later turn out to be quite the different story and explain the differences between the twins. Sarah also tells Aiden that she know her sister to be alive, she explains as a low sound only she can hear that is “always there.” In return for her story, Aiden agrees to take Sarah into the forest with a local guide to look for Jess.
So that’s the basic premise to the events that come next. In the interests of not revealing any spoilers I’ll not divulge anything more in terms of the plot.
Natalie Dormer seems to slip into the very tired role of lead female in a horror/thriller with ease. She takes on both roles and does manage to offer the two different personalities without the film just relying on dying her hair a darker colour. I am concerned though that as she is undoubtedly a talent, she won’t be offered more challenging roles and the accolades that would go with it. Only time will tell but her resume is already impressive enough to earn her a shot at something more worthy of her time.
Taylor Kinney is what he is really, the half decent looking bloke whose motives are always called into question. He goes through his motions without offering anything worth writing home about.
My overall thoughts are that the film is quite well put together. It builds the backdrop well in the early stages with the use of flashbacks but fortunately not too many as to make the film seem disjointed. There’s some quite picturesque shots as the actual forest is introduced to the viewer before we enter it’s more claustrophobic paths and trails. The film offers a limited number of real moments to make you jump but mainly relies on the imagery you would recognize from The Grudge or The Ring. The story ties itself up nicely into its inevitable twist however within that sequence of events is my only real complaint and I can’t really go into why without spoiling. Let’s just say it took a bit of a leap.
A satisfactory film that although it is a little clichéd it does retain its own originality and entertains in the way a film from this genre should do.