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

  • Bookies halt Prince Harry marriage bets, citing engagement 'to be confirmed imminently'

    Entertainment CBC News
    A major London bookmaker has suspended betting on whether Prince Harry will marry American actress Meghan Markle in 2018 amid rumours an engagement may be announced soon. Jessica Bridge of Ladbrokes said Friday that it seems an engagement announcement "is to be confirmed imminently. Source
  • Cadbury, Smirnoff pull YouTube ads over clips of scantily clad children

    Entertainment CBC News
    ?Lidl, Cadbury maker Mondelez, Diageo and other big companies have pulled advertising from YouTube after the Times newspaper found the video sharing site was showing clips of scantily clad children alongside the ads of major brands. Comments from hundreds of pedophiles were posted alongside the images, which appeared to have been uploaded by the children themselves, according to a Times investigation. Source
  • Amid royal engagement rumours, prominent bookmaker suspends betting

    Entertainment CTV News
    LONDON - A major London bookmaker has suspended betting on whether Prince Harry will marry American actress Meghan Markle next year amid rumours an engagement may be announced soon. Jessica Bridge of Ladbrokes says it seems an engagement announcement “is to be confirmed imminently. Source
  • Lawren Harris pencil sketch fetches record $161,000: Auction house

    Entertainment CTV News
    TORONTO -- A Toronto auctioneer says a pencil sketch by Lawren Harris sold for $161,000 this week, a record price for a pencil sketch by the Group of Seven Artist. Consignor Canadian Fine Art says the preparatory work for Harris's famous Lake Superior sold for nearly five times its estimated sale value of between $20,000 and $30,000. Source
  • Canadian screen industry wants code of conduct on sexual harassment

    Entertainment CTV News
    TORONTO -- Groups that represent actors, talent agencies, directors and other employees of Canada's film and television industry say a code of conduct will be one of several steps toward tackling sexual harassment in the industry. Source
  • Canadian screen industry wants code of conduct to deal with sexual misconduct

    Entertainment CTV News
    TORONTO -- Groups that represent actors, talent agencies, directors and other employees of Canada's film and television industry say a code of conduct will be one of several steps toward tackling sexual harassment in the industry. Source
  • Movie reviews: 'Coco' celebrates the vibrancy of Day of the Dead

    Entertainment CTV News
    COCO: 4 STARS The Mexican tradition of honouring their deceased loved ones on Day of the Dead forms the backbone, both visually and emotionally, of the new Pixar film “Coco.” Miguel Rivera (Anthony Gonzalez) is a 12-year-old aspiring musician and devoted fan of the “world’s greatest musician,” the late, great Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt). Source
  • Canadian screen stars want code of conduct to deal with sexual harassment

    Entertainment CBC News
    Groups representing actors, directors and others in Canada's film and television industry say a code of conduct will be one of several steps toward tackling sexual harassment in the industry. More than a dozen organizations convened a closed-door meeting on Thursday in Toronto to discuss what can be done to curb the problem. Source
  • Canadian screen industry wants code of conduct to deal with sexual harassment

    Entertainment CBC News
    Groups representing actors, directors and others in Canada's film and television industry say a code of conduct will be one of several steps toward tackling sexual harassment in the industry. More than a dozen organizations convened a closed-door meeting on Thursday in Toronto to discuss what can be done to curb the problem. Source
  • Pioneering jazz singer Jon Hendricks dies at 96

    Entertainment CTV News
    TOLEDO, Ohio -- Jon Hendricks, the pioneering jazz singer and lyricist who with the trio Lambert, Hendricks & Ross popularized the "vocalese" singing style in which words were added to instrumental songs, has died. He was 96. Source