Its officially January and it is time to dig through the dumping ground of Hollywood. It is no secret that January and February is the black hole of theater releases, allowing us the chance to watch whatever studio execs have lying around. When I saw the trailer for The Forest and its January release date I wasn’t overly excited to see it, but one thing grabbed my eye…no Jason Blum. Don’t get me wrong, I am not hating on the guy but I just can’t trust his name (on a film) anymore. After seeing this supernatural thriller I can say that The Forest is much better than it has any right to be. It is a strange blend of great cinematography and terrible CGI that is entertaining up to its lackluster ending. It is a great example of enjoying the ride, but not necessarily liking the final destination.
The story begins with a young woman having an feeling that her twin sister is in danger. She wakes up from her dream and immediately leaves for Tokyo to try and help her sister. She does a little digging and finds out that she has ventured into the “Suicide Forest” at the base of Mt. Fuji. Through her ESP-like superpower, she can sense that her sister is still alive and fenagles her way into a guided tour to find her twin. Once she is there she finds out that the forest is a sinister and dangerous place full of spirits.
The best part of the film is the setting and the amazing camerawork. There is little to no shaky cam and nothing ever seems static or boring. The actors are passable and the script seems like it may have had a lot of last minute changes. Some of the red herrings are less than brilliant and there are major clues that are either ignored or abandoned. The film does best at building up tension and there were more than a few scenes that had me on the edge of my seat. The biggest problem was how the filmmakers decided to wrap up the story. I won’t go into any spoilers, but the last 10 minutes do not seem to gel with what we had seen up to this point. All in all, this adds up to a serviceable (and sometimes exciting) popcorn flick that you will probably forget about a few days later. The Forest will be available 1/8 in theaters everywhere.