A pretty good ghost story set in one of the most morbidly fascinating places of the whole planet.
The Forest is the first full length feature directed by Jason Zada who’s biggest accomplishment before this was an app that allows you to put your face on breakdancing elves – I must admit, I am in one of those videos. But don’t let the lack of major previous cinematographic experience fool you, for his first film he picked the Suicide Forest as a subject, that is beyond fascinating to me and I'm really surprised it’s not been exploited more, so we should really thank him for this.
The Forest was released on the 8th of January in the USA (Feb 26th in the UK) 2016 and is a Supernatural Horror about a girl, Sara (played by Natalie Dormer, you might remember her for being a spoiled little bitch by the name of Margaery Tyrell on Game of Thrones) who’s going to Japan where her Emo twin sister Jess lives, since she got a call from the police to inform her that Jess might have gone kill herself in the Aokigahara Forest, also known by us westerners as the Suicide Forest.
As soon as Sara gets to the northwest base of Mount Fuji's where the woods is situated she meets hunky Aiden (Taylor Kinney, who is Lady Gaga’s boyfriend by the way) and they make a plan to go the next day to look for Jess together with park ranger Michi (Yukiyoshi Ozawa).
Although I did appreciate the very well crafted jump scares and eerie atmosphere, be warned, the story takes a while to develop, but in my books it makes up for it by showing real bits of Narita airport, the actual streets of Tokyo and also the beautiful area of the Suicide Forest.
Those were actually shot between a Serbian woodland and a set since cameras are not allowed in Aokigahara, but the good news is you are allowed to bring a tent and camp there.
I'm so having a sleep over in the demons infested place next time I'm in Japan! Only bare in mind if you want to visit, try to avoid peak season who is in March, at the end of the Japanese financial year, when suicide rate is the highest. True Story.
Performance wise, Tylor did a great job, and I'm not saying that just because he’s hot, I just think he was the most convincing actor since he was playing a pretty ambiguous part.
Miss Dormer did good keeping me guessing as I really couldn’t figure out what she was going to do next, also kudos Natalie for actually going into the real forest for a hike off track on her own even though the real life guide refused to do one step away from the path because of evil spirits and shit.
But the best actor award goes to the Serbian Suicide Forest double, since when I was watching it I thought it was the real deal, well done!