#REVIEW: “THE FOREST”
Review by Amanda Gilmore for Mr. Will Wong
When Sara’s (Natalie Dormer) twin sister disappears in Japan she knows her sister is still alive. She calls it her “twin bond” – when something happens to the other she can feel it. She then is determined to find out what happened to her sister. Sara‘s investigation leads her to the legendary Aokigahara Forest, also known as the Suicide Forest. Accompanied by travel journalist Aiden (Taylor Kinney), she enters the forest after being warned to stay on-path. Once inside, the forest and tormented souls of the dead begin playing mind games with Sara.
Natalie Dormer does a great job playing both sisters. She is a quiet, thoughtful and determined Sara, as well as the comedic, dark, adventurous Jess. It’s because of Dormer that the audience stays captivated through the entire Film. Yet, it’s Taylor Kinney who is the one to watch. While the forest is playing games with Sara’s head, Kinney uses his character to play games with the audience’s minds. It’s through Kinney’s character Aiden that the feeling of something other than the forest is toying with Sara. He adds suspense throughout the Film.
This Film lacks in the scare department. For a Horror, there are only a handful of jump-scares. And there are no lasting scares beyond the credits rolling. This is a Film that should has been called a Psychological Thriller rather than a horror. As a Psychological Thriller, The Forest did a great job of using a backstory along with the twin bond theme to add character depth. But as a Horror, the backstory seemed unnecessary and the reason for Sara to travel so far and risk her life for her sister didn’t seem to add-up.
The ending is one that may shock audience members while others may feel underwhelmed by it. Overall, The Forest has a great cast and a few jump-scares.
Universal Pictures Canada release THE FOREST Friday, January 8, 2016.