Primeval Preview

In a fun montage we see Rich, Poe, and Roach enact their scheme to construct mashed potato based deep fakes of themselves to escape from Tiniman’s camp. Step 1: Enter the big camel race. Step 2: win camel race, beating Gen. Tiniman’s prized camel. Step 3: get potato peeling duty. Step 4: use natural artistic abilities to craft potato people. Step 5: place potato people in bed and sneak away. “Come on, Roach,” Rich says before accidentally plunging his hand into who he thought was Roach, but was in fact his potato person. They all laugh nervously at the unsettling photorealism of the duplicate and tiptoe their way out of camp. Just when it seems like they are in the clear, a light shines in their faces and Gen. Tiniman steps out from behind a spotlight. “But… but how?” Rich and Poe say, but when they turn to Roach he has a badge out and grunts “Cop.” Saboteur! A group of military police approach them and it seems like the end! Oh, woe is them, woe is the Earth! Suddenly the beacon of light shines from Rich’s chest again and Gen. Tiniman is temporarily blinded. Taking action, Rich and Poe escape Roach’s last blind grab and sprint into the fire desert. Rich and Poe’s muscles aren’t just for show and boy howdy do they demonstrate that here. Their endurace is stunning and their legs churn with lightning quickness taking them away from the pursuing trucks. They would almost certainly outrun the vehicles using their unrivaled athletic abilities, but suddenly Poe pulls up with a cramp. My god, the climactic tension is almost unbearable! Once again the military police approach, but no light is there to save them now. Suddenly a deafening roar rings out. The alligators are here. That’s right! We’re watching the not-so-original big crocodile horror film Primeval. Set in Burundi and “based on a true story” it has been high on the list of craziest settings for BMT. Let’s go!

Primeval (2007) – BMeTric: 56.6; Notability: 28 

(Creeping up, but seems like it is settling right around sub-5.0 which is nice. Notability hits right where I imagine. I think the sense I’m getting it that 25ish is like a normal wide release. Above that and it scales with the size of the production. Below that (down to like 10) and you’re looking at a really small film (intriguingly so). Nice string of 50+ films recently it feels like.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  American reporters reluctantly trek to Africa to capture a huge man-eating crocodile the locals call Gustave, and becomes embroiled in a local war. Peculiar blend of Jaws and a Blood Diamond-like subplot has its moments, but is mostly routine, with herky-jerky editing in the frequent action scenes. Loosely based on real events.

(I am down with that. Mixing Jaws with some bizarre B-plot? Yes please. I’m very ready for a creature feature, and I’ll even take one with … herky-jerky editing? Alright, Leonard, let’s go with that description.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RARfk8cXPeg/

(The entire marketing campaign around this film was about this mayyyybe being a serial killer film … nope psych it is about a crocodile. This trailer is garbage though, way too many cuts to black and choppiness.)

Directors – Michael Katleman – (BMT: Primeval; Notes: Huge television guy. He directed individual episodes from the early 90s, and has been a major producer since 2000. I think my favorite one is the very short lived series Reunion … yeah I watched that live.)

Writers – Michael Ferris and John Brancato (written by) – (Known For: The Game; Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines; Future BMT: The Net; The Hunter’s Prayer; Surrogates; Terminator Salvation; BMT: Catwoman; Primeval; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screenplay for Catwoman in 2005; Notes: Most of their credits are for The Net and subsequent spinoffs of that. I vaguely knew there was a television series, but I didn’t know there was a straight-to-video sequel The Net 2.0. Ferris wrote Bloodfist 2 prior to them working together.)

Actors – Dominic Purcell – (Known For: Mission: Impossible II; Equilibrium; Straw Dogs; Blood Creek; Gridlocked; Vikingdom; The Gravedancers; Scenes of the Crime; Future BMT: The Carrier; Blade: Trinity; Bailout: The Age of Greed; Elimination Game; Killer Elite; BMT: Primeval; Notes: You will know him from Prison Break (which yeah, I’ve seen basically the entire series, want to fight about it?), but I first saw him in the short-lived series John Doe … man there are so many television people involved in this film.)

Orlando Jones – (Known For: Magnolia; Office Space; The Replacements; Bedazzled; Evolution; Runaway Jury; Drumline; Liberty Heights; Enemies Closer; Future BMT: Biker Boyz; I Think I Love My Wife; Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant; Double Take; The Time Machine; Woo; Beyond a Reasonable Doubt; Sour Grapes; The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea; BMT: Primeval; Say It Isn’t So; Notes: Roomed with Artie Lange when both were on MadTV. That is basically where he got his start.)

Brooke Langton – (Known For: The Replacements; Swingers; The Deal; Playing Mona Lisa; Future BMT: Terminal Velocity; Kiss the Bride; BMT: Primeval; The Benchwarmers; Notes: Ha! She starred in The Net television show! No wonder she got the job in this case. Was on 68 episodes of Melrose Place.)

Budget/Gross – N/A / Domestic: $10,597,734 (Worldwide: $15,291,277)

(That is likely not going to do it. But I also imagine, given the talent was mostly pulled from television, that you maybe could have gotten away with a budget of $10 million? While trying to figure this out I ended up stumbling onto The Numbers page for Primeval. Their categorization of this film is “serial killer” … this is not a serial killer film from what I can tell, but for a hint as to why someone might think so go check out the tagline section.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 19% (11/57): Primeval is a low-quality horror film, which due to the inane political messages does not even qualify as campy fun.

(Oh wow. Read the description of the film on Rotten Tomatoes … like, for a split second I thought “wait … is this a serial killer film?!”. Again, I don’t think it is, but some descriptions make it seem like it is. So many of the reviews slam the film for the political message, described as blending a giant crocodile film with Hotel Rwanda. Reviewer Highlight – The sub-sub-Anaconda bottom-feeder Primeval makes the mistake of taking itself far too seriously; with its exploitative images of civil war and genocide, it’s the Blood Diamond of 25-foot-killer-crocodile movies. – Scott Tobias, AV Club)

Poster – Sklogeval

(But… why? This looks like shit. The alternate poster with a bunch of bones that pretends the film is about a serial killer is much better. This just looks like a bad photo. Nice font though. C-)

Tagline(s) – Inspired by the true story of the most prolific serial killer in history. (D)

He’s 20 feet long, and has taken 300 lives. Now, he’s about to resurface. (D)

(Both of these aren’t great. The first is just being tricky with what the film is about. While I like when a tagline tells you about the plot, I don’t love when they basically lie about it. The second one is just using numbers and I guess that’s supposed to be interesting. Hard to say. Both are too long and not nearly clever enough to make up for it.)

Keyword – crocodile

Top 10: Suicide Squad (2016), Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017), Jumanji (1995), Annihilation (2018), Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984), Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014), Pan (2015), Octopussy (1983), The Legend of Tarzan (2016), Romancing the Stone (1984)

Future BMT: 43.8 King Solomon’s Mines (1985), 42.2 Pan (2015), 38.6 Firewalker (1986), 34.5 Suicide Squad (2016), 33.9 Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014), 31.0 Rugrats Go Wild (2003), 30.2 Eraser (1996), 29.6 Inkheart (2008), 27.5 The Legend of Tarzan (2016);

BMT: Runner Runner (2013), Crocodile Dundee II (1988), Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid (2004), Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles (2001), Primeval (2007)

(The second recent film where we’ve used this keyword. The other is obviously Crocodile Dundee II. Really just crushing those Crocodile features recently. Maybe we’ll look into Firewalker soon, that would be a weird one.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 9) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Orlando Jones is No. 3 billed in Primeval and No. 3 billed in Say It Isn’t So, which also stars Chris Klein (No. 1 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 2 billed) => 3 + 3 + 1 + 2 = 9. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – In real life, as seen in this film, an attempt to bait the crocodile failed. The team used a live goat as bait one night, and the team continued this for days. One day the goat disappeared. The camera failed the night before due to a storm, and then political issues in the area forced the team out of the country. Leaving them unable to know what happened that night.

Since Gustave has not been captured, his exact length and weight is unknown, but in 2002 it was stated that he could be “easily more than 18 feet (5.5 m)” long, and weigh more than 2,000 pounds (910 kg). He was estimated to be around 100 years old in order to achieve such outstanding size; however, further more careful observation of Gustave revealed a complete set of teeth when he opened his mouth. Since a 100-year-old crocodile “should be nearly toothless” (according to the documentary), he was estimated to be “probably no older than 60, and likely, still growing”. Gustave is also known for the three bullet scars on his body. His right shoulder blade was also found to be deeply wounded. Circumstances surrounding the four scars are unknown. Scientists and herpetologists who have studied Gustave claim that his uncommon size and weight impede his ability to hunt the species’ usual, agile prey such as fish, antelope and zebra, forcing him to attack larger animals such as hippopotamus, large wildebeest and, to some extent, humans. According to a popular local warning, he is said to hunt and leave his victims’ corpses uneaten. The documentary film also stated that since crocodiles can go several months without eating, Gustave could afford to select his prey carefully. In 2009 the croc had reappeared in Ruzizi River near Lake Tanganyika.

Gustave was named by Patrice Faye, a herpetologist who has been studying and investigating him since the late 1990s. Much of what is known about Gustave stems from the film Capturing the Killer Croc, which aired in 2004 on PBS. The film documents a capture attempt and study on Gustave.

Made of Honor Preview

Double weeks of double duty here at BMTHQ. Looking to get away from franchises we picked the worst reviewed Rom Com available on the calendar that wasn’t Sex and the City 2. That’s right! We’re watching Made of Honor, the Patrick Dempsey Rom Com vehicle cashing in on his Grey’s Anatomy return to stardom. I remember this coming out because I thought it looked ridiculously generic. Let’s see if the years have aged this into a fine wine. Let’s go!

Made of Honor (2008) – BMeTric: 35.5

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(I’m pretty shocked at how high the rating of this film on IMDb is. It kind of makes no sense. I guess if it was only super fans of McDreamy … but are there 60K people who just love Patrick Dempsey enough to vote on this film? It is flabbergasting. It is a modestly below average popular film.)

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars –  Dempsey is a serial womanizer but loves spending time with best friend Monaghan. Only when she announces that she’s getting married (to a Scotsman she’s just met) does he realize he’s going to lose her. As her “maid of honor” he determines to undo her wedding plans. Slick romantic comedy covers familiar ground, but does it with brio – and great Scottish scenery. Dempsey’s first star vehicle since his reemergence on TV’s Grey’s Anatomy.

(McDreamy a serial womanizer? Looks like this is a secret prequel to Valentine’s Day (he played the douchebag boyfriend (but he’s married!) of Jennifer Garner). I could look at Scottish things though. I hope they go to Edinburgh. There is a lot of distinctive cool stuff in Edinburgh and I can say to myself “I’ve been there” a bunch.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGVpvkMmjK4

(Gay Panic: The Movie. I’m excited. I like Dempsey actually, and as long as he lays on that Grey’s Anatomy charm I’ll probably buy into it. I can see it now: me sitting in my living room typing “It’s not that bad! It’s not that bad!” … one can hope.)

Directors – Paul Weiland – (Known For: Sixty Six; Future BMT: City Slickers: The Legend of Curly’s Gold; BMT: Leonard Part 6; Made of Honor; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Director for Leonard Part 6 in 1988; Notes: Hilarious filmography. Awarded Officer of the Order of the British Empire for his creative work. He describes Leonard Part 6 as a terrible mistake in which Cosby wasn’t funny and wouldn’t take direction concerning how slowly paced the movie felt.)

Writers – Adam Sztykiel (screenplay & story) – (Known For: Due Date; Future BMT: Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip; Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul; BMT: Made of Honor; Notes: Writing We’re the Millers 2 at the moment, and has done a few tv movies as well. Can’t find much else … married to Ellie Knaus if you know who that is.)

Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont (screenplay) – (Known For: Josie and the Pussycats; Can’t Hardly Wait; A Very Brady Sequel; Future BMT: The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas; Surviving Christmas; Leap Year; BMT: Made of Honor; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Screenplay for Surviving Christmas in 2005; Notes: Kaplan and Elfont actually directed Can’t Hardly Wait and have been writing partners since the mid-90s. Kaplan is married to Breckin Meyer of (gulp) Pinocchio fame.)

Actors – Patrick Dempsey – (Known For: Bridget Jones’s Baby; Can’t Buy Me Love; Enchanted; Freedom Writers; Outbreak; Loverboy; The Stuff; Heaven Help Us; The Emperor’s Club; Some Girls; In the Mood; Future BMT: Scream 3; Transformers: Dark of the Moon; Mobsters; Hugo Pool; Flypaper; With Honors; BMT: Valentine’s Day; Made of Honor; Sweet Home Alabama; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Supporting Actor for Transformers: Dark of the Moon in 2012; Notes: McDreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeamy. Clearly the better of the McDreamy vs. McSteamy debate that raged across America when Grey’s Anatomy was still on the air (oh it still is on the air, that’s embarrassing). Probably most famous as the production manager (and occasional voice work) of the Super Mario Bros. television show. He is also a professional endurance race car driver, which is a thing a lot of actors do for whatever reason.)

Michelle Monaghan – (Known For: Patriots Day; Gone Baby Gone; Source Code; Mr. & Mrs. Smith; Kiss Kiss Bang Bang; Constantine; Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol; Unfaithful; Mission: Impossible III; Due Date; The Bourne Supremacy; Somewhere; North Country; Fort Bliss; Trucker; Winter Solstice; Future BMT: The Heartbreak Kid; Sleepless; Playing It Cool; Tomorrow You’re Gone; It Runs in the Family; Better Living Through Chemistry; Perfume; Eagle Eye; Gus; The Best of Me; Machine Gun Preacher; BMT: Pixels; Made of Honor; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Supporting Actress for Pixels in 2016; Notes: She won several blue ribbons as a hog wrestler at the age of 13.)

Kevin McKidd – (Known For: Trainspotting; Percy Jackson & the Lightning Thief; Brave; Nicholas Nickleby; Dog Soldiers; De-Lovely; Max; The Acid House; Topsy-Turvy; Hideous Kinky; The Leading Man; Bedrooms and Hallways; Small Faces; 16 Years of Alcohol; Future BMT: The Last Legion; Home Sweet Hell; Hannibal Rising; Bunraku; BMT: Made of Honor; Notes: He is also in Grey’s Anatomy (was? I don’t know). He became an American citizen in 2015, and initially pursued an engineering degree before auditioning for drama school.)

Budget/Gross – $40 million / $46,012,734 ($105,962,760 Worldwide)

(That … is kind of a hit. Where was Made of Honor 2: Divorce Court? I mean … I can only assume Kevin McKidd gets kicked in the nuts Baxter-style, and Monaghan and Dempsey get married. That isn’t going to last. That’s almost certain. So why not show us the hard drama that follows?)

Rotten Tomatoes – 14% (16/116): Sharp performances by Patrick Dempsey and Michelle Monaghan can’t save this forgettable, formulaic chick flick from its comic failings.

(Uh oh … that sounds really boring. The trailer did make it seem light and enjoyable. Probably heavy on the light and light on the enjoyable if you get my drift.)

Poster – Made of Sklognor (C+)

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(Focus, guys. Come on. What color is this poster? No one knows. Can we spoof the font? Yah, duh. The only good thing is that you can stare into Patrick Dempsey’s dreamy eyes for hours.)

Tagline(s) – It takes a real man to become a maid of honor. (B+)

An unbridaled comedy. (F)

(Gonna go on record and say that this is one of the all time worst titles that Hollywood has produced. Why the pun? And then make a tagline that doesn’t use the pun? Whatever. The first one is actually pretty good. Not sure why it’s “become a maid of honor” and not just “be,” but that’s nitpicking. The second one is the worst thing that’s happened to me today. Ruined my day. Shockingly bad.)

Keyword(s) – friend; Top Ten by BMeTric: 88.8 The Hottie & the Nottie (2008); 88.0 Vampires Suck (2010); 86.4 The Room (2003); 85.7 In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2007); 85.2 Troll 2 (1990); 84.1 Movie 43 (2013); 82.2 You Got Served (2004); 81.5 Prom Night (I) (2008); 77.3 Ouija (II) (2014); 76.9 Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever (2002);

(Friend! Football friend! This is, as usual with these things, just a list of very bad movies and mostly useless. As a matter of fact this entire preview seems fairly generic … there is a theme emerging. And overwhelming feeling of pure averageness wafting off of this film.)

Notes – Patrick Dempsey learned how to juggle plates while working as a street performer. (Something he put into good use as a child actor is my understanding, although I don’t think I ever saw his early work. Actually that isn’t true, I’ve seen quite of bit of Loverboy on cable growing up. He is basically a prostitute delivering pizzas if I recall correctly.)

To give Patrick Dempsey a youthful appearance for his scenes as a college student, CGI was used. (Thanks IMDb. In order to make a middle-aged man not-passable as a college student we made him look creepy fake instead.)

Sydney Pollack’s final acting role. (oof)

In an interview with Newsweek, Patrick Dempsey mentioned shooting a nude locker-room scene, which was cut to preserve the PG-13 rating.

Patrick Dempsey (Tom), and Kevin McKidd (Colin), are co-stars on the show Greys Anatomy. (Yeah … I know)

While filming at London’s Park Lane Hotel, about 30 extras had to be used on short notice when the production team noticed red double-decker buses passing by frequently. That’s common in London, but not New York, where the scene is set. The extras were used outside the hotel, to block the buses. (A travesty. Why not just CGI them out like you CGIed Dempsey’s wrinkles and grey hairs out in that other scene)

The company filmed at Dunvegan Castle on the Isle of Skye for five days. Dunvegan Castle is said to be the oldest inhabited castle in northern Scotland. It has been occupied continuously by the chiefs of MacLeod for over seven centuries, and it is still the MacLeod ancestral home. Though there are only at most 12,000 people on Skye at any one time, the film production rolled in with a crew of 250, a cast of 25, and 300 extras.

The punning title only works in English. The Spanish title is “Quiero Robarme la Novia,” which translates to “I Want to Steal the Bride”. (Whoa, they get right to the point in Spain.)

The song Colin sings to Hannah is “A Red, Red Rose” by Robert Burns.

At Starbucks, Tom orders a grande drip and a decaf triple grande non-fat extra hot stirred no-foam caramel macchiato with whipped cream extra caramel filled 70%. (… I hope there is one guy who is meticulously recording this information. This is like in I Know What You Did Last Summer when I thought to myself “I should write down Julie James’ license plate … seems like good trivia”. But then I thought better of it)

The Forest Preview

This week we continue our 2016 pre-Razzies festivities with the worst Horror/Thriller we haven’t watched. (“Boo! A Madea Halloween?” shouts the crowd). Unfortunately no. Won’t be on DVD for a while… sigh. Usually this is a slam dunk category even without a Madea film, but this year was oddly bereft of bad horror. Everyone did an adequate or good job with totally random films like Ouija 2. So we were left with the traditional January horror film release. This year that spot was taken by a film called The Forest. The most interesting thing about this film is that it’s the third film in four years that involves the Aokigahara Forest in Japan. These are The Forest, 47 Ronin, and The Sea of Trees. It’s a natural BMTril-oh-geez! One step at a time. Let’s go!

The Forest (2016) – BMeTric: 58.9

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(The BMeTric is startlingly high. Like crazy. Horror films have a very large built in audience (another reason it is very easy to generate return in the genre) but also tend to be, in general, rated worse than other genres. The triple regime is back, although I think I know what in this case. The first section is domestic theatrical release, the second bump is the foreign release (you can almost see two bumps too, Germany on February 4th and then UK/Spain on February 25th), and then the final section is VOD release.)

RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars –  The admiration for the little that Zada does differently in the early sections of “The Forest” does not last for long, as the movie repeatedly hits the same beats over and over again. Zada’s film ends up feeling like an extended journey to a predestined shrug of a conclusion.

(This review was interesting because it describes the debut filmmaker’s approach as rather refreshing to start. As a matter of fact this is something I’ve been hearing a lot recently. That the crop of new horror filmmakers have brought life to things that shouldn’t have life (Ouija 2 is a perfect example, a prequel to an absolutely horrible horror film shouldn’t be good let alone great!). I’ve been hearing chirps about this new generation being tapped to revitalize a set of classic horror franchises (like Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, etc.). It’s an interesting, although I think misguided, idea. In reality I would like to see the franchise paradigm come back. It has to an extent, but I mean with a progressively fleshed out and explored primary villain like Freddy, Jason or Michael Myers. We’ll see if Zada is part of the crew who will be doing some of that in the coming years.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BDs_DYow7xA

(Yeah, I don’t think this movie is scary. I think that is the ultimate problem. You can kind of get that feeling. I like that it seems like it goes more for the eerie over the jump scares (that’s what I’m getting here), but it doesn’t seem like it is going to work ultimately.)

Directors – Jason Zada – (BMT: The Forest; Notes: Zada started as a digital marketeer. He was the creative lead for what ultimately because a 65-person agency and has lead projects for Office Max and government PSA. He left the company to pursue a film career starting with music videos. This is his first feature film.)

Writers – Nick Antosca (writer) – (BMT: The Forest; Notes: He is a novelist actually, with five books in his bibliography. Besides that though he appears to be a huge horror film guy, writing to CW’s Teen Wolf, operating SyFy’s Channel Zero, and producing 13 episodes of Hannibal. He has been tapped to write the new Friday the 13th (so there we go, the new generation, although directed by the guy who directed The Last Witch Hunter, feels like an uninspired choice))

Sarah Cornwell (writer) – (BMT: The Forest; Notes: Another novelist she has written a single book and this is her one and only screenwriting credit. She has a website in which it talks about how she’s from Pennsylvania and I think went to UT-Austin, but nothing stands out really. The book is supernatural so I wouldn’t be surprised if she is eventually tapped for another supernatural horror gig)

Ben Ketai (writer) – (BMT: The Forest; Notes: Started out with horror shorts and web series and eventually landed a few projects with Crackle and SyFy mostly focused around ghost stories. There isn’t much about him personally floating around, but he is tapped for the sequel to the well-regarded recent horror film The Strangers. I’m going to be honest, this seems like a pretty solid set of young writers and a solid directing choice given the budget, I’m surprised that with Dormer in the lead role it didn’t come together at least slightly better.)

Actors – Natalie Dormer – (Known For: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2; Captain America: The First Avenger; Rush; The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1; The Riot Club; Casanova; Flawless; BMT: The Forest; The Counsellor; W.E.; Notes: Basically the only person we should talk about with regards to this film. She is well known for her roles in The Tudors and Game of Thrones. She is engaged to Anthony Byrne who has directed multiple episodes of many British television series including Mr. Selfridge and Ripper Street. She is one of the first Game of Thrones alums to start testing the waters in leading film roles, specifically this movie. We’ll see if she can make the transition more successfully than someone like Richard Madden who, outside of Cinderella has somewhat retreated back into smaller television roles.)

Budget/Gross – $10 million / Domestic: $26,594,261 (Worldwide: $37,608,299)

(It is pretty easy to make bank on horror films. You make them for $10 million or less and you’ll get a return if you can release it. With Dormer in the lead role (and her prominent role on Game of Thrones) I would think this would get released no matter the quality, just had to get something on film.)

#75 for the Horror – Supernatural genre

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(Holy shit! What could have possibly happened in 1999 to precipitate that? Oh yeah, Blair Witch and The Sixth Sense came out within a month of each other. My guess is that line will just keep on rising until the green lines starts dropping. The more movies they make it doesn’t seem to affect the gross per movie so … why would they stop? #75 puts it right near One Missed Call! Classic, we need to watch that at some point for sure. )

Rotten Tomatoes – 10% (12/120): The Forest offers Natalie Dormer a few chances to showcase her range in a dual role, but they aren’t enough to offset the fact that the movie’s simply not all that scary.

(Boo. I kind of expected this, but at the same time it is kind of annoying when a movie is just gross, or just boring. I have a feeling this will be more gross than boring in the end, which is worse for me to be honest. We’ll see though.)

Poster – The Manuel F. Correllus Sklog Forest (A-)

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(It is a striking poster. Love the silhouette forest that makes up the edge of the face. Love how they subverted the idea of the normally off-putting flesh coloring of the human face by making the entire poster a light tan color (although I still don’t love the color itself). Could have done a little better with the text font… there seems to be a slight fading, but not unique enough. It’s a beautiful poster that tells a story.)

Tagline(s) – Everyone comes here looking for a way out (B+)

(Daaaaaaaaaang. Check out the pun on this guy. It is pretty fucking clever. I was going to give it an A+ but then it kind of rattled around in my brain. It doesn’t really make as much sense as you would hope given how clever it is. Like it makes perfect sense for suicide, but for the alternate meaning of “looking for a way out,” it falls apart… because no one goes somewhere looking to find a way out of where they went. Damn. Still, it sounds great.)

Keyword(s) – suicide forest; Top Ten by BMeTric: 58.9 The Forest (I) (2016); 19.2 The Sea of Trees (2015);

(BTW I think this is a record: there are zero keywords marked relevant for this film. I let this guy fly because it seemed to appropriate and I was curious about the outcome … yeah, there aren’t really any other movies with this keyword. The other one there also got 10% on rotten tomatoes, oof!)

Notes – Natalie Dormer actually went to the Suicide Forest with her Japanese driver for research. She ventured five meters off the path to take photos and her Japanese driver would not step half an inch over the path.

Aokigahara, known as the Suicide Forest or Sea of Trees, is a 35-square-kilometre forest lying at the north-west base of Mount Fuji in Japan. The forest has an association with demons in Japanese mythology, and is a common suicide site; a sign at the start of the main trail urges suicidal visitors to contact a suicide prevention association. There have been two recent movies inspired by this premise, Grave Halloween (2013) and The Sea of Trees (2015), both released before The Forest. (Will there ever been a well received film with this forest as a prominent plot point? Scientists maintain we may never know)

When Natalie Dormer’s character is first browsing information about the Aokigahara forest, the photos on her screen are real, taken from actual recovery parties that, annually, scan the forest to retrieve human remains. Among the pictures (though blurred) is the infamous “half face” man that also inspired the film’s poster.

The poster for the film features Natalie Dormer’s face with the bottom half removed, and the dividing line forming a silhouette of treetops and dangling nooses. This bears a clear resemblance to an infamous image of the body of an actual suicide victim of the forest, a bald man found in such a decomposed state that his jaw had fallen off and strips of flesh were hanging from where it had been. The image is also replicated in the film, albeit in a slightly less grotesque form. (gross)

In order to differentiate the twin sisters, Natalie Dormer had to dye her hair black while playing Jess and keep blonde hair as Sara. This was also to insert ying-yang symbolism; Sara was always the more innocent and pure sister, hence her blonde hair, while Jess was always more psychologically troubled and sad, hence her black hair. (Didn’t think that was going to be interesting, but it was.)