The Forest is a welcomed change in horror for me. I grow tired of the endless string of slasher films that come out, and don’t get me wrong, I am a fan of all horror, those included, but films like this are surprisingly release few and far between so I am a big fan of this film.
Essentially the idea revolves around the Aokigahara forest in Japan. If you don’t know what it is, I even suggest looking up its reputation on line before watching the film. Essentially it is a forest where many people go to end their lives and is so dense that one can easily get lost or not be found if not careful.
The main character played by Natalie Dormer, is heading there to look for her recently disappeared twin sister who may or may not have purposely gone into this forest to end her life.
The film is what I call “Japanese Style Horror,” because it relies more on atmosphere, understanding of cultural ideas surrounding the location, or the forest in this instance, and basically an agreed upon idea that ghosts exist, which again goes back to the cultural understanding. So films like this aren’t so interested in convincing you of the supernatural as much as taking it for granted that you are starting with that belief right of the bat. If you go in with this idea, the film is much more effective and the psychological play of it has a bigger impact.
Overall I would say if you are a fan of horror films from Japan (and not just their remakes) you will find this to be a very good film. If you changed the main actors with those of Asian descent, and released this in Japan, I think it would totally fit in with those films, no problem. I think the fact that it is an American release is what actually plays against it as we are used to over the top, non-stop action films which we call horror movies.
The horror primarily lies in the mind, and this film re-affirms this. Again, going in with an understanding that the belief is already established really helps in understanding the film.
My negatives on this film were actually the jump scares. I can do without that. Anyone can scare someone by jumping out at them. That’s child’s play. I am glad they didn’t resort to this too much, but I definitely don’t really appreciate nor find that sort of thing very scary as much as ridiculous.
I almost feel like they had to add some otherwise American audiences just won’t pay attention. Just my take.
So if you are looking for something a little deeper and more thought provoking this is a good film. It is creepy and the acting is well done. I would recommend this film to all but those that have to have non-stop action to be entertained.