The Forest (2016)
Starring Natalie Dormer, Taylor Kinney, and Yukiyoshi Ozawa
Directed by Jason Zada
***This film is currently streaming via HBO***
When American Sara Price (Natalie Dormer) receives a phone call from Japanese police saying that her twin sister Jess - who is currently in Japan teaching English to high schoolers - has gone missing, Sara jumps on a plane to try and find out where her sister has gone. Upon arrival, Sara discovers that Jess entered the Aokigahara Forest known as a place where people go to contemplate and commit suicide. Certain that her sister is not dead, Sara employs magazine reporter Aiden (Taylor Kinney) and his friend Michi (Yukiyoshi Ozawa) to lead her into the forest, but not before Michi warns her that the forest has been prone to supernatural stories about many people that have entered to explore the area never to have found their way out.
Obviously, the summary above implies that The Forest is a bit of a horror story. Unfortunately, it's not the least bit scary and first-time director Jason Zada doesn't succeed in creating that ever-growing sense of tension, dread, and fear necessary in a flick like this. Natalie Dormer is fine in the duel role of twins Sara and Jess, but the film doesn't give her much to do. In fact, there's not much to do for anyone in the movie. Its short ninety-minute runtime feels bloated as it as. I think there's possibly an intriguing story to be made about the real-life Aokigahara Forest (and, in fact, there are a few other films this year that use this place as a background), but The Forest is not it.
The RyMickey Rating: D+