The Forest (2016)
‘The Forest’ shipment of the supernatural thriller reported to be based on true events, or more accurately extrapolated from a statistical cluster associate given location. I will concede that the location used does have quite a strong reputation for deadly and mysterious events. On the office-based of Japan’s Mount Fuji there is a rather large forested area known as the Aokigahara Forest, but residents nearby commonly referred to as either ‘the Sea of Trees’ or ‘The Suicide Forest’. It was given that appellation because of the in inordinate number of suicides that are committed within that 14 square-mile forest. So densely packed with trees that seem to swallow any sound made. It is also a place that is been the focus of folklore and superstition for a very long time believed to be inhabited by ghosts. Even in today’s modern era the superstition runs deep continuing to hold fast with the population. When the leading lady decided to visit the location as part of her research for her role her driver were not venture off the path by a fraction of an inch. There are many movies made with a similar premise but this one may make the attempt but fails to reach its potential. There is red flag associated with this flick that is traditionally reasonably accurate in determining the general worthiness of movie. It did make the transition from theater to DVD/Blu-ray exceptionally quickly; with barely 4 months between its January theatrical opening and it’s released on disc. That is usually an indication that doesn’t bode well with the fans. Like many horror films that easily more than twice its estimated $10 million budget. The largest thought that this film has is that includes many actors well known for their work on television series. The most obvious example is Natalie Dormer who is an exceptionally well sought after actress currently appearing in the popular culture megahit, 'Game of Thrones'. Because of the long hiatus between many TV series members of their exceptionally talented cast are able appearance small films such as this. Considering they are remuneration would be a be a fraction of the enormous salaries the Cabela for two rate until there is a project that interests them as strong potential for quality production values. They can sometimes it is except a part because it’s convenient to be a time schedule despite the fact that it’s most likely going to bomb. After all the reputation remain solid due to the television work.
Sara Price (Natalie Dormer) is a young woman living in the United States was surprised she receives a call from the Japanese authorities. The police have called to inform that the suspect that the twin sister, Jess has died. She was last seen going into the Aokigahara forest Sara the most was that his sister does have a history of emotional problems. Against the objections of her fiancé Rob (Eoin Macken) she meeting the books a flight to Japan and arranges to stay in the same hotel room as her sister had occupied. In the hotel Sara encounters an American reporter Aiden (Taylor Kinney) they strike up a conversation while having a couple drinks. Sara explains that the source of the sister’s emotional issues stems from when they were little children of parents their parents being killed by a drunk driver. Although Jess witnessed the entire event, Sara had been spared ordeal. Aiden offers to take her to the park accompanied by a Park Ranger, Michi (Yukiyoshi Ozawa). The next morning the three enter the Michi tells Sara that considering the morbid reputation held by the park it was most likely that her sister took her own life. As they continued their trek the come upon a yellow tent that Sara immediately recognizes as belonging to her sister. Michi is anxious to leave and suggests they leave a note for Jess and exit the park. Sara didn’t travel half way around the globe adamantly declining the suggestion. Ever the gentleman Aiden offers to remain and stay through the night with her. As they continue their search the next morning they become lost. The plot thickens in a highly predicable fashion Sara asks Aiden for his phone to call for help and finds a picture of Jess on it. He denies having any relationship with her missing sibling resulting with Sara careening alone deeper into the forest. Most horror/thrillers require the audience to muster a certain degree of suspending disbelief but this scenario is so incredulous as to be ridiculous.
The story continues on auto-pilot checking off one meme after another in the long established proscribed order. After nightfall Sara hears something rustling among the trees. Hoping it was Jess, Sara rushes to investigate only to finding a young Japanese girl, Hoshiko (Rina Takasaki) who claims to know Jess. By this point you might as well be shouting out what will happen just before it actually is shown. A voice prompts Sara to turnaround only to see a body hanging from one of the trees. Running headlong into the forest Sara, let’s all say it together, falls into a cave. Waiting there is Hoshiko who is now revealed to be an yūrei, a ghost. Soon afterwards Sara is rescued by Aiden who just happens to still in the vicinity. The story is so predicable that I could include a synopsis taken directly from the shooting script and I still would not feel the necessity to include a spoiler warning. From the requisite family tragedy that physiologically separated the identical twins to the ruggedly handsome stranger who is inexorably is secretly involved with the missing sister.
The influences on the filmmaker, Jason Zada are quite obvious as is the fact that this is his first feature length film. It is not uncommon for a nascent director to first experiment with established techniques. There is just enough style trying to emerge here that given a few more projects that he should be able to allow his own style to emerge. That fact that he could attract actors that are immediately recognizable from popular television indicates that he at least has access to professionals that have a significant amount of expertise. This is straight from the survivor girl template with a foundation of a simplistic ghost story. The only modicum of a twist with interest is setting the story in an actually location in Japan that has a well-established history of supernatural occurrences and a sizable number of verified suicide. I also appreciated the filmmaker did not try to pass the story off as ‘based on true events’ just because the forest is real and has a documented macabre history. Such claims have been made with far less of a connection to reality than a setting that happens to be listed on an actual map of Japan. I can tolerate a movie that misses the marks due to a number of technical missteps than one that insult the intelligence of the viewer. In any case this might suffice for an afternoon when the game you were gonging to watch with your friends was rained out and the beer and pizza was already delivered.