4.8/10
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217 user 222 critic

The Forest (2016)

Trailer
2:29 | Trailer
A woman goes into Japan's Suicide Forest to find her twin sister, and confronts supernatural terror.

Director:

Jason Zada
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Popularity
4,109 ( 5)
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Natalie Dormer ... Sara / Jess Price
Eoin Macken ... Rob
Stephanie Vogt ... Valerie
Osamu Tanpopo Osamu Tanpopo ... Homeless Man (as Tanpopo Osamu)
Yasuo Tobishima Yasuo Tobishima ... Sushi Chef
Ibuki Kaneda Ibuki Kaneda ... Mei (Schoolgirl)
Akiko Iwase ... Head Teacher
Kikuo Ichikawa Kikuo Ichikawa ... Businessman
Noriko Sakura ... Mayumi
Jozef Aoki ... Visitor Center Morgue Man
Yûho Yamashita Yûho Yamashita ... Sakura (as Yuho Yamashita)
Taylor Kinney ... Aiden
Gen Seto ... Narusawa Bartender
Terry Diab ... Grandma
Nadja Mazalica Nadja Mazalica ... Sara / Jess (Age 6)
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Storyline

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..

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Do not leave the path. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for disturbing thematic content and images | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Natalie Dormer's character is first browsing information about the Aokigahara forest, the photos on her screen are real, taken from actual recovery parties that, annually, scan the forest to retrieve human remains. Among the pictures (though blurred) is the infamous "half face" man that also inspired the film's poster. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

[first lines]
Jess: [running scared through a forest] Oh, God, Help me! Somebody help! Help me!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Half in the Bag: Shut in and Arrival (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Eastern Bells
Written by Garry Judd
Courtesy of Artful Recorded Music
Under license from 5 Alarm Music
See more »

User Reviews

 
The Forest has a creepy enough atmosphere, but it's not enough to make up for the confused plot and lack of scares.
28 March 2016 | by lnvictaSee all my reviews

I had my eye on this movie since it came out earlier this year. It was a January release so I was in no rush to see it, but it had a genuinely cool premise: looking for someone in the suicide forest, which is an actual place in Japan where people go to commit suicide. It's pretty unsettling. In the movie, it's said that the forest compels people to kill themselves due to supernatural forces or vengeful spirits. The Forest focuses on Sara, whose sister has gone missing in said forest, and Sara's desperate endeavors to find her sister despite the evidence pointing to her being dead. Up until about the 30-minute mark, I was on board. The pieces were set, the exposition was established, and the characters (Sara, her journalist friend Aiden, and a tour guide) were finally heading into the forest. Again, the atmosphere is creepy throughout. The director clearly has a grasp on how to build tension.

The problem is that the promising build ups lead to zero payoffs. There are handful of cheap jump scares, a couple of which admittedly shocked me but only momentarily. Once the initial shock wore off seconds later I was in the same state of mind as before. Effective jump scares linger for a while; they imbue dread and usually add something to the narrative. The jump scares here are your typical, "Boo! Something's behind you!", which are easy to shrug off. Also, once they're in the forest, the characters make some decisions that are unfathomably stupid and out-of-character. Like, the main point of the forest is that it makes you think you see things, a psychedelic effect if you will. So after Sara receives this crucial information, she runs after the first thing she sees scurrying around in the forest. While it's pitch black, mind you. It completely takes you out of the movie and makes you lose all empathy for the characters for putting themselves in these avoidable situations.

Also, The Forest focuses more on the bond between Sara and her sister than the actual forest. So there are plenty of flashbacks, dream sequences, all that garbage that just muddles the fact that, hey, this forest is really f*cking scary. Why not focus on the forest instead of forcing character development, if you can even call it that? It makes no sense. Also, there's nothing we haven't seen before. People being hung? First scene in Sinister. Claustrophobic underground tunnels? The Descent. The only thing that makes the movie unique is the actual setting which is used as a backdrop more than anything.

The acting is good, as is the premise, but the potential littered within this movie is never fully realized. The director can definitely creep you out but he'll need a better script if he wants to make a truly great movie. The Forest just leaves you feeling hollow and disappointed.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Japanese

Release Date:

8 January 2016 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Forest See more »

Filming Locations:

Tara National Forest, Serbia See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$10,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$12,741,176, 10 January 2016

Gross USA:

$26,594,261

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$39,712,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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