The Forest (2016) – a movie almost as dull as its title

Sara Price (Natalie Dormer) is called and told her twin sister Jess was dead. She was seen to walk into Aokigahara Forest, a “popular” destination to go kill oneself. Sara catches the next flight to Japan and goes on the search for her sister. While asking around, people tell her not to go into the forest as her sister is most likely to be dead. Due to their twin-“I feel she’s not dead”-connection, Sara is convinced she can find her and meets Aidan (Taylor Kinney), a reporter who will help her look for her sister after she told him about their parents’ death.

Accompanied by a guide, they walk into the forest. He perpetually stresses not to walk off the paths as the forest is dangerous. After the exposition, which was a bit too lengthy, the introduction of the forest and the first night managed to cause some tension in me. In this movie, the classic horror setting forest has this mystical component to it, making it kind of interesting even though being far from reinventing the genre.

After finding Jess’s tent, Sara refuses to leave the place as nightfall comes. The tour guide can’t dissuade her and leaves. Aidan offers to stay with her. In the night, she chases a sound she’s heard and is warned about Aidan. The next day, they get lost and Sara becomes paranoid towards Aidan. She runs off and is on her own in the mysterious forest.


Copyright: splendid film

There are repeatedly some effective moments of tension and paranoia but in my opinion the movie itself has destroyed its own concept by having the guide constantly emphasize one thing. The confusion necessary for being scared cannot emerge and you just aren’t that scared.

All in all, The Forest is a mediocre movie that cannot maintain its initially creepy atmosphere and that isn’t particularly thrilling. Natalie Dormer’s decent performance does not suffice to save the movie.


shorter German version:

Der Film bedient sich für sein Setting bei dem beliebten Horrorsetting Wald mit einer gewissen mystischen Komponente, was das Ganze recht interessant gemacht hat. Die Exposition war mir schon etwas zu lang, aber ansonsten waren die Einführung und der erste Abschnitt im Wald recht atmosphärisch und boten eine leichte Anspannung. Der Film zerschießt sich mMn aber das Konzept selbst, weil der Führer immer wieder eine Sache betont, die die Verwirrung, die zum Grusel führt, gar nicht entstehen lässt und das Konzept ad absurdum führt. Natalie Dormer macht ihren Job ganz gut, auch wenn sie nicht viel Brauchbares an die Hand bekommt. Hier und da gibt es ein paar Szenen der Paranoia und Anspannung, aber insgesamt bleibt The Forest eher ein mäßiger Film, der seine anfangs vorhandene Atmosphäre nicht aufrechterhalten kann und nicht wirklich spannend ist.

Title image taken from, © by Lava Bear Films

Image in text: © splendid film, taken from their website


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