A few personal thoughts before getting to the overview. It’s my opinion is that this film is awful. Really, really bad, even by horror standards. Particularly the last third of the film, which felt like it was straight out of The Haunting or An American Haunting or The Haunting in Connecticut… one of the hauntings from the early 2000’s, anyway. But as the Razzies are wont to do, it will probably not even appear on the pre-nomination list. Oh well. Let’s get into it.
What?! Sara Price’s sister Jess has entered the “suicide forest” of Japan and disappeared. Unwilling to accept that she’s gone, Sara enters the forest only to find that the spirits that dwell within may be coming after her next. The Forest!
Why?! Every horror film has you asking, ‘Why? Why are you going into the spooky ghost forest?’ And usually the answer is wholly unsatisfying. Not this time! She does it because they’re twins! Sara knows that Jess isn’t dead because they have a special twin connection, so she feels she must venture in to find her. It’s the best reason of them all! It also forced me and Patrick to confront the tough question: what would we do? The answer? Wait for the authorities and perhaps leave a note for Patrick at the edge of the forest. It would read, “Sorry, bro. I don’t fuck with ghost forests.”
How?! Fortunately for a young woman hoping to take a stroll through the ghost forest there are multiple people that are willing to help her with that ill-advised venture. These include the smarmy (or is he?) travel writer, Aiden, and his Japanese guide, Michi. Michi is the token smart person in the film and warns Sara that she’s got sadness in her heart and the forest will try to use it against her. Guess what? She doesn’t listen and the forest uses it against her. Surprise, surprise. God… they were all so dumb in this film.
Who?! I feel like when talking about a horror film the only ‘who’ you really care about is the monster. In this case the whole forest is the monster. It uses spirits and illusions to trick people into killing themselves and each other. So while the forest seems to be a suicide forest, it is hinted that the victims of the forest may have instead been manipulated into killing themselves. It’s actually pretty clever. Unfortunately, it’s also as scary as the other BMT film where trees are the primary antagonist, The Happening.
Where?! Uh, Japan. Duh. Haven’t you been playing attention? This is a clear A and bordering on A+, depending on how generous you’re feeling with the title. I think it’s an A.
When?! This is the second film in a row where the month and day that it takes place doesn’t seem readily apparent. Unlike London Has Fallen, though, this is probably just a matter of circumstances given that 95% of the film takes place in the middle of a ghost forest where everyone knows time doesn’t exist. That’s common ghost forest knowledge. Still an F.
Now that you know the details Patrick will give a little review.
‘Ello everyone! The Forest? More like the Borest, amirite? It’s twin time (and Mt. Fuji), it is twin time and Mt. Fuji. Those of you familiar with the Twin Time song (nearly none of you reading) will know the tune, feel free to sing along. This might be the greatest twin movie we’ve ever done. It at the very least gives I Know Who Killed Me a run for its money. Arguably both involve stigmata twins. Fun fact: Jamie and I are stigmata twins. But only in a specific way. When someone asks me “hey, if I punch you does it hurt your brother” Jamie instinctively says “No, that’s ridiculous nonsense”. Let’s get into it!
- The Good – The first act in a way. The set up to this film is somewhat better that recent terrible horror fare. The protagonist has a reason to go to Japan, you get the sense of loneliness and isolation that is meant to compel you towards the forest. Thick on jump scares, but otherwise I thought it was a decent setup to a decent idea.
- The Bad – The rest of the goddamned movie. Thiiiiick on jump scares. So thick that might as well have been the only type of scare they had. The third act is just a catastrophe. It makes no sense. All the characters are dumb. Rumor is that the Japanese suicide forest is alive and tricks its victims into killing themselves by showing this movie to them over and over until they shout “No, why would you insist on washing up when you literally just saw ghosts in a weird forest hole?! Run out of the forest lady!!!” and end it all.
- The BMT – No. I wish I was bold enough to end it there, but no. Horror/Thrillers that are BMT make you laugh. This is just sad and morose and makes you sad, for both the characters and the state of horror today.
Game game game game game … Jamie has already alluded to it, but let’s Sklogify this movie! Open the movie, I awake in a cold sweat. From across the Atlantic I can feel that my Jamie is in trouble! I travel to the spooky midwestern forest where he was last seen and the guide says: “Beware, this forest is haunted and will trick you into killing yourself best just leave a note”. And I say “yes, that is a prudent suggestion. Thank you forest guide I have entrusted with my life.” I write a nice note, Jamie finds it, comes out of the forest a day later and fin. Horror fans wonder “wait … what?”.