The Forest, American Movie (2016)

I can still remember the first time I saw the original Japanese version of the Ring. (Or Ringu if you prefer). It truly scared the living daylights out of me, and to date I still find it one of the best horror movies I have ever seen. It also proved that the Japanese can create an intense and utterly creepy atmosphere with very little means. Although the American version is in no way a bad movie, it just failed to create the same scary vibe I had when I watched the original. This year we have an American horrormovie set in Japan called the Forest. Does it have the ingredients to make us jump out of our seats?

The Forest tells the tale of the  American girl Sara, who gets a call from the police in Tokyo, telling her that her twin sister Jess has gone missing. The place where she was last seen was entering the Aokigahara forest better known as the suicide forest. Sara does not hesitate for one second and takes a plane to Japan in order to find her sister. After a long journey she finally arrives at the entrance to the forest. It is there she meets a stranger who introduces himself as Aiden. Being a journalist Aiden is fascinated by the story Sara tells of her sister, and he agrees to help her. Together they enter the forest in search of Jess. When darkness is beginning to fall it begins to become apparent that Aokigahara forest is no ordinary forest. What begins as a search soon becomes a struggle for survival.

The interesting thing about this movie is that Aokigahara forest exists for real, and is truly a place where a lot of people have committed suicide. I had first heard of this place in the novel the Three written by Sarah Lotz. (If you haven’t already: read it, it is a truly interesting and frightening book). As such this movie had my interest when I first saw the trailer for it. This film manages to create a pretty creepy atmosphere throughout it’s runtime. Apart from a few scenes it does not become really scary though, and that is a bit of a shame. The acting is very decent and both Natalie Dormer and Taylor Kinney play their roles convincingly. I felt the ending was a bit rushed and did not manage to bring the movie to a satisfying conclusion. This wasn’t a truly bad movie, and the setting in Japan as well as the overall atmosphere, still make for an okay watch. And that is especially the case if you have an interest in Japanese mystic folklore. Don’t expect too much from it though.

I give The Forest a 6 out of 10 score.

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