Review: 'The Forest' a horror film with little horror


"If you go out in the woods today, you're sure of a big surprise." The surprise in "Teddy Bear’s Picnic" is fairly benign — teddy bears eating and "having a lovely time" — but a new movie makes the woods out to be a much more surprising and scary place.

See Full Article

Just as Hansel and Gretel ignored warnings about the woods and ended up coming across a cannibalistic witch, "The Forest" proves there’s nothing enchanting about this enchanted forest.

Set in the forest of Aokigahara, a real life place at the base of Japan’s Mount Fuji also known as the Suicide Forest, the movie sees Sara ("Game of Thrones’" Natalie Dormer) in search of her missing twin sister Jess (also played by Dormer). Sara recruits expat American Aiden ("Chicago Med’s" Taylor Kinney)—who, helpfully, is fluent in Japanese—and "suicide hike" guide Michi (Yukiyoshi Ozawa) to help her navigate the dense, dangerous woods.

The Forest film review

"People say spirits cannot rest there. They come back ANGRY!" Michi warns them to always stay on the path and insists they leave by sundown, but most ominously tells them, "The spirits make you see things and make you want to die!"

Of course after locating Jess’s campsite just before dark Sara won’t leave and Aiden is too much of a gentleman to leave her there alone. Michi hightails it, leaving the two at the mercy of the forest’s bad mojo. Is what Sara is seeing real, or a dark fantasy caused by restless spirits?

Natalie Dormer and Taylor Kinney in The Forest

A better name for "The Forest" would have been "Hell Hike" given the hellish amount of time we watch Sara and Aiden plodding through the woods. It’s one of those movies where you often feel like something is about to happen and then…nothing. It’s all anticipation with little payoff.

There are a handful of jump scares—loud noises designed to give you a jolt—but they don’t add much to the story or raise many goosebumps.

Perhaps if the trio of writers (Nick Antosca, Sarah Cornwell and Ben Ketai) responsible for this skimpily plotted psychological drama spent more time on creating characters we cared about (sorry Sara and Jess) or building some actual tension we could excuse the barebones plot.

The idea of the suicide forest is a good one but the movie doesn’t trust us to understand the stakes and continually, and annoyingly, reminds us that going into the forest is bad. We get it. Now scare us.

Add to that clumsy metaphors—Jess went to the forest to battle her personal demons, now Sara is battling real ones!—and you’re left with a good justification for clearcutting.


Latest Entertainment News

  • Canadian rock band Arkells organizes concert to benefit refugees

    Entertainment CTV News
    Still flying high from their trip to South Korea to perform in front of Team Canada during the Winter Games, the Arkells are now excited to do something for newcomers in the city where the band formed. Source
  • 'N Sync to reunite to receive star on Hollywood Walk of Fame

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK - 'N Sync is finally reuniting -- but not for new music or a tour. The boy band will earn a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on April 30. Justin Timberlake, JC Chasez, Lance Bass, Joey Fatone and Chris Kirkpartrick will attend the event. Source
  • Review adds pressure to Weinstein investigation

    Entertainment CTV News
    New York's governor put unusual -- and potentially problematic -- pressure on Manhattan's district attorney to bring a criminal case against Harvey Weinstein this week when he ordered the state's attorney general to investigate the prosecutor's handling of an earlier sex abuse probe involving the film producer, legal experts said. Source
  • Appeals court sides with Marvin Gaye's family in Blurred Lines legal battle

    Entertainment CBC News
    A federal appeals court upheld a copyright infringement verdict against Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams over the 2013 hit song Blurred Lines. In a split decision from a three-judge panel, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday awarded $5.3 million US to the family of Marvin Gaye, who said Blurred Lines illegally copied from the late soul singer's Got to Give it Up. Source
  • Britney Spears lands 1st high fashion campaign with Kenzo

    Entertainment CTV News
    PARIS -- Britney Spears has landed her first high fashion modelling campaign as the new face of Paris-based Kenzo. The 36-year-old singer said she had been waiting for the "right fit and the right opportunity" to represent a luxury brand. Source
  • The Weeknd, Bruno Mars to headline Lollapalooza in Chicago

    Entertainment CTV News
    CHICAGO -- The Weeknd, Bruno Mars, Jack White and Arctic Monkeys will headline this year's Lollapalooza music festival in Chicago. Travis Scott, The National, Vampire Weekend and Odesza also were among the performers announced Wednesday morning on Lollapalooza's website . Source
  • Jimmy Kimmel brings Katie Couric to his colonoscopy

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES - Jimmy Kimmel's audience got to see more of the host than usual when he had his first colonoscopy. The talk show host brought Katie Couric along for the test, which aired on Tuesday's "Jimmy Kimmel Live. Source
  • Chrissy Metz writes about struggles, triumph in new memoir

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK - "This Is Us" star Chrissy Metz writes about her early struggles with weight and poverty and her later success as an actress in her new memoir. In an excerpt from the book "This Is Me," appearing in the April 2 "People" magazine, the 37-year-old describes growing up poor and overweight in Florida. Source
  • Judd Apatow memorializes mentor Garry Shandling

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK - After Garry Shandling died two years ago, his longtime friend Judd Apatow went through emails he and the comedian had recently shared. Then he started bawling. "I realized that every single time I asked him for anything or wanted him to come to some event or to read something for me, he said 'yes' every single time," said Apatow. Source
  • 'This level of honour just blows my mind:' Run-DMC, Gloria Estefan songs join U.S. recording registry

    Entertainment CBC News
    Songs performed by Tony Bennett, Gloria Estefan and Run-DMC are among 25 recordings being added to the National Recording Registry. The Library of Congress announced on Wednesday the list of titles being honoured for their cultural and historic importance to the American soundscape. Source