The Forest Movie Review
If a horror movie is set in a forest and nothing happens, is it even worth acknowledging? “Game of Thrones” actress Natalie Dormer stars in The Forest, an alleged horror movie set in Japan’s Suicide Forest that defies convention by not being scary, interesting or even remotely good.
Jason Zada establishes just one thing with his directorial debut—that he has a lot of areas for improvement. It’s clear in the film’s first minute, with its overly artistic shots, hackneyed editing and awkward introduction to the lead character and situation at hand, that The Forest is not going to be any good. And the movie just goes downhill from there.
The first scary moment—well, the first moment that is supposed to be scary—involves Dormer’s character finding a tent with a little girl in it (in her garage). The girl’s face suddenly changes into the same stretched-CGI-demon look we’ve seen in countless other C-grade horror movies in recent years, and what’s even worse is that the clichéd moment is so poorly timed and managed it doesn’t even elicit even a nanosecond of terror.
The Forest is just overflowing with bad decisions, least of which is the one to set a movie in the Suicide Forest—a fantastic idea on paper—while making the film’s two main leads white Americans. The various Japanese actors who pop up throughout exist primarily to frantically talk about urban legends and myths in Japanese, which apparently makes things scarier.
More troubling is that Dormer’s character doesn’t seem the least bit concerned about her twin sister, even though her sister has a history of depression and has disappeared in a forest known for suicide. She meets a mysterious stranger and proceeds to laugh, drink and be merry with the dude, and when she finds her sister’s abandoned tent in the woods—and her sister hasn’t shown up long after dark—doesn’t seem to consider that the most logical explanation for her absence is that the woman is most likely a goner.
But really, The Forest is just a poorly made, sloppily written and noticeably un-scary horror movie that deserves to be razed, burned or logged before another person sets eyes on it.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.