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

THE FOREST: 2 STARS

"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.



Advertisements

Latest Entertainment News

  • Warner Bros. previews D.C.'s Justice League at Comic-Con as Affleck shuts down exit rumours

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    SAN DIEGO — Ben Affleck is still Batman. The actor shot down rumours that he would be hanging up his cape for the stand-alone Batman film, even though he recently ceded directing responsibilities. Speaking to a crowd of about 6,500 fans at San Diego Comic-Con, Affleck unequivocally assured the crowd that he is still starring in “The Batman. Source
  • Marvel Studios teases new ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ trailer in return to Asgard

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Marvel Studios is taking moviegoers back to Asgard in the latest rendition of the Thor franchise. Saturday night at San Diego Comic-Con, fans got a new sneak peek at the third installment of the Thor franchise titled ‘Thor: Ragnarok’. Source
  • New 'Stranger Things' Season 2 trailer released

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    SAN DIEGO — The creators of “Stranger Things” premiered a trailer for the show’s second season at Comic-Con on Saturday that was so new, even the cast hadn’t seen it. The Duffer Bros. were joined by director Shawn Levy and stars Millie Bobby Brown, Matthew Modine and the crew of young actors who play a group of friends searching for their buddy who mysteriously disappears. Source
  • Wonder Woman 2 confirmed at San Diego's Comic-Con

    Entertainment CBC News
    After smashing box office records this year, Wonder Woman received the loudest cheers among the DC superheroes gathered on Saturday at San Diego's annual Comic-Con to present new footage and trailers for Warner Bros' expanding comic book film franchise. Source
  • Ben Affleck addresses rumours that he's out as Batman

    Entertainment CTV News
    SAN DIEGO - Ben Affleck says he is still Batman and has the support of Warner Bros for the stand-alone film. Affleck addressed rumours that he would not be appearing as the caped crusader past "Justice League" this November Saturday at Comic-Con in San Diego. Source
  • Ben Affleck to fans: I'm still Batman, despite rumours

    Entertainment CTV News
    SAN DIEGO -- Ben Affleck is still Batman. The actor shot down rumours that he would be hanging up his cape for the stand-alone Batman film, even though he recently ceded directing responsibilities. Speaking to a crowd of about 6,500 fans at San Diego Comic-Con, Affleck unequivocally assured the crowd that he is still starring in "The Batman. Source
  • Spielberg debuts action-packed 'Ready Player One' footage

    Entertainment CTV News
    SAN DIEGO - Steven Spielberg dives into the world of virtual reality in his adaptation of "Ready Player One." The director unveiled action- and nostalgia-packed footage from the film Saturday at San Diego Comic-Con. The 6,500-person Hall H crowd gave the director a standing ovation and cheered heartily when the first images from the dystopian future world came up on screen, and even more so when The Iron Giant popped up. Source
  • Ben Affleck refutes rumours that he's out as Batman

    Entertainment CBC News
    Ben Affleck says he is still Batman and has the support of Warner Bros. for the stand-alone film. Affleck addressed rumours at Comic-Con in San Diego, Calif. Saturday that he would not be appearing as the caped crusader past Justice League this November. Source
  • 'Home Alone' dad John Heard dead at 71

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Home Alone star John Heard has died at the age of 72. Police were called to a Palo Alto, California hotel on Friday to investigate a report of a medical emergency, but the actor was pronounced dead at the scene, according to TMZ.com. Source
  • 'It'll say things about today': Denis Villeneuve teases Blade Runner 2049

    Entertainment CBC News
    Canadian director Denis Villeneuve had fended off numerous requests to direct big-budget sequels until he was approached to make a follow-up to Ridley Scott's 1982 neo-noir sci-fi film Blade Runner. "I accepted to do Blade Runner because it was meaningful," Villeneuve, the director of last year's cerebral alien sci-fi film Arrival, told Reuters Saturday in San Diego, Calif. Source