I had to take a short break so I could hook up with the Mad Dr. Of Pleasanton to have my knee surgically repaired. Fortunately my old friend, The Pouty Princess swung by to check up on me and naturally the conversation turned towards horror films. This time around the Princess is recommending The Forest. The film was a winner on a couple of important counts, I hadn’t seen it before and it’s available on Netflix.
The Forest in another in a long line of movies filmed in Japan using Japanese concepts but starting American actors or actresses. People have been beefing about this practice since Raymond Burr met Godzilla and while I don’t particularly care if the lead roles are played by Americans or Asians I have to admit, it’s an effective way to get movies made that otherwise may have never made it past the idea phase. The Forest is based on an actual place in Japan, Aokigahara forest, where people go to commit suicide. An American girl finds out her sister went missing in the forest and the search is on.
The Forest succeeds at creating a really creepy atmosphere. I liked the part where the heroine enters her sisters classroom and the students thinks she’s her sister’s ghost. The people at the visitors center are friendly but so used to finding dead bodies that it’s jarring. Once she hooks up with two guides they start to search The Forest, the film is basically 3 people wandering through the woods with nothing happening except for an occasional corpse hanging from a tree.
Hat’s off the Natalie Dormer for being a non traditional looking actress (goofy looking?) and pulling it off. The Forest tricked me into thinking there was a serial killer at work even though it stayed completely true to the idea of a haunted forest. I watched the film twice and it does seem as though the sister just suddenly appears out of nowhere with no explanation. Big thumbs up fora unique take on a real place.