The Forest

The Forest is a 2016 American supernatural horror film directed by Jason Zada and written by Ben Ketai, Nick Antosca, and Sarah Cornwell. It stars Natalie Dormer and Taylor Kinney. Eoin Macken, Stephanie Vogt, Yukiyoshi Ozawa & Rina Takasaki have supporting roles.

Sara Price, recieves a call from the Japanese police stating that her twin Jess, who was working as an English teacher in Japan is missing and presumed dead. The reason they presume she is dead is that Jess was last seen into the Aokigahara forest, a forest at the northwest base of Mount Fuji in Japan known as a popular destination for the suicidal. Jess has always been a troubled woman from childhood, having seen their parents’ death in a drunk driving accident, which Sara did not witness. Hence Sara has always picked up after her sister and defended her.

Against the wishes of her fiance Rob, Sara goes to Japan and stays at the hotel her sister first had and then visits the school. Sara meets a reporter named Ayden at her hotel bar and as they drink she tells him about her sister. Aiden, who speaks Japanese having lived in Tokyo for many years invites her to go into the forest with him and a park guide, Michi, so she can look for her sister. As they enter the forest Michi tells Sara that Jess probably killed herself, which refuses to believe this, explaining how, being a twin, she can “feel” that Jess is still alive. Deep in the woods, the group discovers a yellow tent that Sara recognizes as Jess’s. With nightfall approaching, Michi suggests they leave a note for Jess and leave. Sara refuses, and Aiden volunteers to stay with her through the night. That night, Sara hears rustling in the bushes and, believing it may be Jess, rushes into the woods after her. Sara finds a Japanese girl, Hoshiko, who claims to know Jess. The girl warns Sara not to trust Aiden and flees at the sound of his voice. Sara attempts to chase after her but falls and loses her.

On their own Aiden and Sara walk around and lose their way. As they walk, Sara’s suspicions are raised and she demands Aiden to give her his phone and finds a picture of Jess on it. Aiden denies any involvement with Jess, but Sara runs into the forest alone. While running she begins to hear voices telling her to turn around. She appears to be unfazed by this until she hears the voice directly behind her. She turns around to see a hanging body and continues to run away. She then falls into an underground cave and goes unconscious, later she wakes up and discovers that she is in the cave with Hoshiko, who turns out to be a y?rei. Hoshiko then turns into what appears to be a “demonic figure”. Sara then runs the opposite way towards what appears to be Aiden. Aiden finds her and helps her out of the cave and, with some convincing, they continue to walk together. They find their way to a ranger station that Aiden had seen.

At the station Sara hallucinates that she hears Jess’s voice from behind a door and finds a note which implies that Aiden is holding Jess captive in the basement. Convinced that he is a threat, Sara attacks and kills Aiden with a small kitchen knife. However she soon realizes that Aiden was telling her the truth and it was all her hallucinations. and finds a note which implies that Aiden is holding Jess captive in the basement. Convinced that he is a threat, Sara attacks and kills Aiden with a small kitchen knife. When she cut at her father’s fingers she was actually cutting deep into her own wrists, and is now dying from blood loss in the basement. As she succumbs to her wounds, a y?rei pulls Sara into the forest floor. Her very much alive sister is rescued by the search party and explains that the “feeling” of her sister is gone and it is assumed that Jess knows Sara is dead. As the search party leaves, Michi is seen staring at a figure and realizes that it’s Sara’s spirit.

Predictable and slightly boring and even tedious in places as the actors struggle over an uninspiring script, the movie saw a negative critical reception but was a box office success, grossing $37.6 million against a reported budget of $10 million. I’ll give it a 5.5 outta 10!

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