The majority of the story is set in and around the Aokigahara Forest, a forest at the northwest base of Mount Fuji in Japan known as a popular destination for suicide. Sara Price (Natalie Dormer), an American woman, receives a phone call from the Japanese police telling her that they think her troubled twin sister Jess Price (also Dormer) is dead, as she was seen going into Aokigahara forest. Despite the concerns of her fiance, Rob, she journeys to Japan and arrives at the hotel where her sister was staying. At her hotel, Sara meets a reporter named Aiden. They drink together, and she tells him of her parents' death. In reality, her father killed her mother, then committed suicide, but she tells him they were killed by a drunk driver. Her sister saw the bodies, but she didn't look. Aiden invites her to go into the forest with him and a park guide, Michi, so she can look for her sister..
Given that the forest is open to visitors and treated even as a tourist attraction; that Jessica visited with a school group rather than by herself, and that she is a Westerner who might know of the forest but wouldn't have internalized legend like a local and would be unlikely to view the forest seriously as a scary place of suicide and demons, it is quite strange the police were willing to simply accept a witness's statement that she went off intentionally into the woods to die. It would be likely enough that she wandered off the track for police to at least go searching instead of passively waiting to see if she returned on her own. See more »
[running scared through a forest]
Oh, God, Help me! Somebody help! Help me!
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Written by Andrea Monorchio and Gun Kawamura
Courtesy of Primrose Music
Under license from 5 Alarm Music See more »
The Forest (2016)
Japan's Aokigahara "Suicide Forest" by itself is a creepy and gruesome place because of its reputation as one of the most notorious suicide spots in the world as well as its historic association with demons in Japanese mythology. Its inherently scary atmosphere is perfect for a good horror movie, but The Forest mostly squanders its promise by degrading it to a hot spot for cheap jump scares. The Forest stars Game of Thrones star Natalie Dormer in a dual role as twins Jess and Sara. Jess has disappeared into the forest, and Sara travels to Japan to go into the forest to look for her, unaware of the demons that lurk in the forest. The film has a pretty interesting premise and could have worked if executed correctly. 2014's As Above, So Below took an intrinsically creepy setting, the Paris catacombs, and used an unsettling atmosphere and good scares to make one of the better horror films of that year. The Forest does not use its setting to its advantage. Any atmosphere created by the forest is frittered away by a dull jump scare. Despite all the loud noises and sudden shocks, the scares are just boring. That could have been helped by a good story, but once Sara actually reaches the forest, the plot just sort of stops. The last half of the movie is just her running through the forest while demons pop out from behind the trees. It's not until the end that the plot decides to move forward any more, but by the time the big twist happens, you don't really care. The Forest has a committed performance from Natalie Dormer and glimmers of an interesting movie but mostly wastes them on predictable jump scares and a bland story.
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