The Forest is a perfect example of the type of lazy film-making I detest; a contrived, subpar ‘horror’ film that is all about the bang rather than the bite. Set in Japan – a location that only serves as a reminder of far superior horror films like Ring, Ju-On: The Grudge and Audition – Game of Thrones star, Natalie Dormer, plays an American who travels to Japan’s Suicide Forest – a place that actually exists – in search of her missing identical twin.
With Dormer playing both twins, the decision to distinguish between the two by making one a dark-haired goth and the other a blonde-haired Republican-type, is a comment to the lack of imagination that haunts the film. It tries and fails to be clever when it comes to the whole relationship between the twins, to the point where it never feels as scary as it should.
Long scenes of exposition and substandard dialogue have you virtually begging for something frightening to happen – and that is coming from a self-confessed wimp when it comes to horror – yet when something spooky does finally happen, it is far too short lived to leave any real long lasting impression.
The scares themselves, of which there are few, are also lazy and serve no real purpose other than to make you jump. For example, when Dormer’s character first arrives in Japan, she is sharply awakened from a daydream when some random man bangs on her taxi’s window. This person has no relevance to plot or character development; he’s simply there one moment and gone the next, never to be seen again.
It’s a scare which is essentially repeated time and time again during The Forest, proving that the writers are far more interested in frightening us with noise as opposed to creating mood or atmosphere. It is a shame, not only because the concept has undeniable potential, but because Natalie Dormer – an actress who has impressed in The Hunger Games films – deserves better than this.
Image credit to http://www.impawards.com