Friday, May 27, 2016

The Forest – Seriously, Do Not Go in the Woods!

Runtime: 93 minutes
Release Date: January 8, 2016
Rating: PG-13
Director: Jason Zada

Sara lives in America with her fiance and worries about her twin sister Jess. Jess moved to Japan to work as a teacher but recently stopped answering her phone. When Sara gets a call from the police that they believe her sister killed herself, she decides to fly to Japan herself to investigate. It turns out that the last time anyone saw Jess, the woman was going to the suicide forest by herself.

Though she refuses to believe her sister committed suicide, she learns that her sister supervised a field trip the forest in the past. She also finds some prescription anxiety medication that her sister left behind. While having a drink at a bar, she meets an Australian reporter who speaks Japanese. Aiden agrees to help her find a guide who will take her into the forest to search for her sister.

Michi, the guide, gives her information about the forest. They actually encounter a man sitting outside of a tent, which is a sign that the man isn't sure he wants to kill himself. Apparently, people will sometimes take tents with them and spend hours or days deciding what to do. He also shows them how people will leave behind trails to help others find their bodies. Though they find Jess's tent, Michi recommends they leave and come back the next day. When Sara refuses and plans to stay the night, Aiden agrees to stay with her while Michi promises to come back for them the next morning.

Almost as soon as the sun sets, Sara starts seeing and hearing things. She keeps thinking she hears her sister's voice and even sees her twin, but then she discovers the ghost of a suicide victim in the woods. The more the night drags on, the more she begins suspecting that Aiden had something to do with her sister's disappearance. Sara then starts having flashbacks to the death of her parents and wonders if she'll ever find her twin or even get out of the forest alive.

The Forest is a damn good horror flick. Natalie Dormer carries the film as both Jess and Sara and does a super job of differentiating between the two characters. Taylor Kinney is equally great as Aiden because he plays the role of ambiguously. He does a superb job of leaving you wondering if he really had something to do with what happened to Jess or if he's just an innocent victim.

I also want to give it up for the director. The Forest is one of those flicks that has a ton of twists and turns. Almost from the moment Sara enters the woods, you have no idea what she actually sees and what is a hallucination brought on by the forest itself. While the ending wasn't that great and had a twist that wasn't really a twist – if you pay even the slightest attention to the beginning, you'll see it coming – I have to recommend it. Ignore all the negative reviews posted online. The Forest has lots of twists, some great acting, and scenes that will stick with you.

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