Horror movies. It’s always the same damn formula. Stupid people making stupid decisions, getting other stupid people killed. There’s nothing to invest in, nothing to care about. All that’s left is basically violence porn, or a fetish for cheap scares that you get simply being somewhere. Seriously, some guy could walk up right behind you, clap really loud, and that’s what people pay fifteen dollars for, except there’s supernatural shit going down.
Well, the minute I saw the trailer for this, I knew it would be something to put off. But since it was the only movie I hadn’t seen, I had enough patience and time enough to kill before seeing ROOM again to watch this one. With all that said, this is my honest opinion of THE FOREST.
The story follows Sarah (Natalie Dormer). She’s hellbent on finding her missing twin sister, Jess (Natalie Dormer), who went missing in the Japanese forest that has that kind of Japanese name that a stereotypical American like myself can’t pronounce to save my life (Aokigahara – the Suicide Forest). This forest has a reputation of having folks commit suicide. This worries Sarah greatly and she wants help. That help comes in the form of Aiden, a journalist invested in Sarah’s story and knows of an experienced guide that will give even greater help to Sarah. They venture into the forest and eventually find Jess’ tent. Sarah refuses to leave the site in case Jess returns. Aiden stays too out of concern, but the longer Sarah stays in the forest, she starts seeing horrifying things. Dead people attacking her, a warning given to her that the forest makes you see things. But these visions become too real and becomes increasingly difficult to distinguish reality from hallucination.
Yup, as predicted, it was bad.
The primary gimmick of the movie is toying with the concept of “is it real or all in the protagonist’s head?” Thing is, this is not new. It was played with in a lot of better and equally bad movies. If it’s trying to be a psychological horror film, it fail. There’s 100 too many jump scares and “disturbing” imagery to have a real psychological atmosphere that can be taken seriously. What it ultimately is, it’s a failed standard horror film. If you’re the type that craves random cheap thrills, then you’re good, you’ll probably like this movie fine. As for me, the minority who is actually waiting for an intelligent, ground-breaking horror film, this is not that movie.
Hell, tell me if this sounds familiar: American white girl travels to Japan and confronts VERY SPECIFICALLY vengeful ghosts. Quick, am I describing the plot to THE FOREST or THE GRUDGE?! Seriously, was this supposed to be a fourth Grudge movie taking place in a forest? I would believe you if you said yes. There’s enough angry undead long-haired Asian women to be convincing enough. They just forgot to add the stop-motion ghost person.
The jump scares don’t connect to anything other than to serve as a reminder that this is supposed to be a horror movie. The editing in the beginning is headache-inducing, awful writing, I can’t even say the movie is so bad it’s funny. Nope, it’s just bad and… okay, not BORING, the actors are trying to make this story feel natural, but it’s not worth slugging through.
And oh my god, that ending. What a shitty ending. The whole movie is Sarah trying to find Jess. Although Sarah goes crazy thanks to those pesky masked ghosts, Jess is found. How? She was next to a fire, runs toward the search party, and… is rescued. Yeah, that easy. And… for the life of, I can’t tell you who to blame, but this movie is pushing the whole “twins feel the other” thing. Sarah is implied to be dead and Jess “feels nothing,” implying that she feels that Sarah is dead. What is Jess’ reaction to her sister’s death? The acting equivalent to an “awe shucks.” No, seriously, no reaction. Not even a tear. Just wide-eyed acknowledgement. Just a bad line delivery. It is the actress? The direction? The script? All of the above? Whatever the case, completely atrocious.
Can I… can I request something of my readers? Please, it’s a small one. Can we please have a moment of silence for Bear McCreary’s wasted talent? Who is Bear McCreary, you may ask? He’s the film’s composer. He’s also responsible for some of the most beautiful and awesome music in television. To name a couple, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA the reimagining and TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES. I can’t believe that I could spot this, but there’s times when this score edited by a high school kid. Worse even. I was part of a high school horror film and that score was incorporated far sleeker. You know, it’s days like this I miss CLOVERFIELD. There was no score to screw up.
Honestly, I want to say something good about Dormer, as she wasn’t a bad actress in the Mockingjay movies, and for all intents and purposes, she’s not… awful in this movie, but she’s called upon to play twins and I just didn’t buy it. I didn’t feel like she was acting out two characters that interacted with each other, I felt like she was TRYING to play two characters interacting with empty space and only later superimposed Dormer’s dual role on the other half of the screen. I really hops she gets better material to work with in future because this isn’t a showcase of her talent.
Oh, and the movie’s not even scary.
My expectations were met, the movie’s bad, enough said.