Leave Well Alone
It’s been a while since I ventured to the cinema to watch a horror film but here I am lured in by the fact that I had nothing else to do. It was either watch The Forest or try shaving my beard with a lit candle to stave off boredom.
In hindsight I’m glad I didn’t choose the candle but am gutted that I didn’t just use a flame-thrower because The Forest adds to the stinking pile of donkey shit that consists of most horror films.
For a start it frequently contradicts itself. We are told again and again to never stray off the path. No, seriously; NEVER STRAY OFF THE PATH!! Literally 5 steps into the forest and the park ranger (of all people) happily drags them off the path, a path which was never seen again. It would be like taking your first ever driving lesson and the teacher telling you to start drifting round corners.
A smaller example of this is when a Japanese teacher translates for her student who doesn’t speak English but when the teacher doesn’t provide a literal translation the girl fervently corrects her. This implies that the girl is a lying little shit because that requires a highly competent and nuanced English speaker.
Funnily enough through, the film actually had potential. Early on we are told that whatever happens, it is all in your head. A creepy forest is a great place to subvert the audiences expectations, build tension and play on that part of your brain that says an un-dead killer zombie bear with rabies is definitely outside my tent.
Sadly, the psychological aspect isn’t really explored choosing instead to fumble its way through a story that revolves around the rescue and recovery of a twin sister whilst desperately grasping at those all too familiar horror tropes that I hate.
Jump scares are the name of the day complete with eerie wilderness scenes that could be from any other horror film, Japanese people – presumably because they make original horror and therefore this film by proxy?! – creepy children who look at the floor then face the camera and scream.
“It’s the microwave meal of creative horror.”
Feel free to use that as a DVD box quote.
Whilst the above sounds all very tedious it gets even worse thanks to some awful acting courtesy of Natalie Dormer. Does she seem genuinely concerned about her twin sister? No. Does she seem genuinely scared in the forest? For the most part no.
Thankfully Yukiyoshi Ozawa and Taylor Kinney are a lot better as the supporting cast but this doesn’t detract from the harrowing experience of paying money to see this visual fungus.
The occasional shots of wildlife and mountain scenery ironically make the forest look like a lovely place to visit and are the rare pieces of oak veneer that covers this endemic dry rot.
The Forest should have been a psychological thriller but plays bullshit bingo with generic horror conventions instead. In fact, at the time of writing, it’s currently tracking at 9% on Rotten Tomatoes so if you do go to see The Forest I’d advise bringing some sort of strong tranquillisers.
The Good, The Bad and The Outcome:
+ Nice scenery?!
– Another generic horror
– Bad acting