Review by Adam Winn, Staff writer
To start off the new year, most moviegoers go into theaters with the hopes of seeing a great film, and while there may be quite a few of them out right now, the newly-released horror film “The Forest” is not among them.
The film is about a woman named Sara (Natalie Dormer) who travels alone to Japan to search for her missing identical twin sister, Jess. Sara soon discovers her sister was last seen entering Aokigahara, a forest located at the base of Mount Fuji that is famously nicknamed the “Suicide Forest” because it’s a place where countless people have gone to kill themselves.
During Sara’s search, she decides that she will have to go into the forest herself to find her sister, fearing that if she doesn’t, something bad will happen to her. At a nearby hotel, she runs into a man named Aiden (Taylor Kinney) who is a journalist and is writing a story on the forest itself. After a night of drinking together, he decides to allow her to join him and his local tour guide in the hopes of helping Sara find her sister.
The next day, the group enters the forest, and almost immediately Sara begins seeing and hearing strange things, which intensifies the longer she stays there. She eventually cannot distinguish between what is real and what isn’t, leaving her in a constant state of panic.
One of the major flaws about this film is the fact that it’s a horror film that’s not scary. All of the “terrifying” parts are predictable and the film relies completely on cliché jump scares to attempt to frighten the audience, most of which fail.
The film does have a great premise, with the story taking place in a supernatural forest where people go to kill themselves. It also takes the film a long time to get into the main plot, which involves the main character actually entering the forest to find her sister. Once she does finally enter the forest, nothing seems to really happen. This leaves the viewers in a perpetual state of wondering when something good is going to occur.
The script itself just lacks any sort of focus or general direction, as if the scriptwriters were all just making the whole thing up as they went along. When the movie does end, the viewers are left with more questions than answers, such as why a certain character did something or if something really happened or not.
The acting, however, was pretty convincing and was arguably one of only non-sucky parts about it. Actress Natalie Dormer, who is known for her parts in television shows such as “Game of Thrones” and “The Tudors,” did a great job playing the dual role of both Sara and her identical twin sister, Jess.
The same can be said of actor Taylor Kinney. After a while, the audience can’t tell if his goal is to help Sara or if the character has something more sinister planned for her.
Was “The Forest” one of the worst horror films ever made? No. Some parts were mildly creepy and the acting was good, but most audience members will leave the movie feeling disappointed and with several unanswered questions. Those desiring to still see the film should just wait until it ends up on Netflix in a few months.