The Forest

The Forest

In Theatres: 
Jan 08, 2016
Running Time: 
95 minutes

The Aokigahara forest is indeed a real place that lies towards the base of Mount Fuji in Japan, and it does have a high suicide rate for people who enter, which is why it has been deemed the Suicide Forest in popular culture. It sounds like a good basis for a horror story, too, but The Forest relies on cheap scares and a confusing story that’ll have you more lost than any amount of wandering off Aokigahara’s beaten path might get you.


Sara (Natalie Dormer) shares a special connection with her twin sister, Jess. They can always sense whenever either of them is in trouble, even if they’re in separate countries. So when Jess goes missing in Japan and is last seen entering Aokigahara, Sara rushes out there to find her sister, who she believes to still be alive despite what everyone else is telling her. With the help of Aiden (Taylor Kinney), a travel writer familiar with the forest, Sara ventures deep among the trees and discovers that there might be some truth in the rumors as to why so many people commit suicide.


The Forest is another rehashed story about someone who goes missing under strange circumstances and then the same thing starts to happen to the person trying to find them as well. Usually it’s a haunted house or creepy small town in the middle of nowhere. In this case, it’s a forest where people go to kill themselves. That in itself can actually be scary, but the film struggles to produce any decent scares because it’s too busy trying to establish a mediocre backstory for Sara and Jess about their troubled childhood. It’s nothing we haven’t seen before.


Furthermore, The Forest relies on the tired “is it real or not” method of horror. Are the strange things happening to Sara really happening to her or is it all just in her mind? Honestly, it doesn’t really matter. The film is full of simple jump scares that fail to make you even wince paired with standard horror background music that’ll warn you whenever something is about to happen by going completely silent.


Dormer is completely adequate in her first horror performance, playing both Sara and Jess. The acting is actually slightly above par for the genre. It’s a shame that the story is so bland, especially when the real Aokigahara forest is far more interesting than anything the film presents. You’re far more likely to be confused than scared after watching The Forest.

Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
Follow him @ Twitter
Friend him @ Facebook