The Forest (Jason Zada, 2016)

Aokigahara, also known as suicide forest, is an infamous anti- tourism site. The forest is one of the worlds most haunted locations and is a place where unhappy travelers go to take their own life. So we can leave it to Hollywood to turn this horrific place into a feature film. However, you will be surprised to know that this is the first ever film made about this gruesome location.

Side fact: As filming in the Aokigahara forest is not permitted by the government. The film was shot at a nearby forest. (How many forests are in Japan?). However, due to weather conditions many parts were filmed on stage.


The Forest, staring the beautiful Natalie Dormer plays the twins Sara and Jess Price. Sara feels that something is wrong with Jess so she takes a trip over to Japan. She later discovers that Jess decided to take a trip into the forest and has yet to return. However, with both of our twins lost in a forest known for its ghosts and mind games, our characters begin to go a little crazy. The ghosts of the forest persuade you to kill yourself by tricking and scaring anyone who wonders off the path.



‘Stick to the path, beware of the moors’ – (John Landis, 1981)

The film opens extremely well, it sets the scene for both our characters and gives the feel of a fantastic indie style horror.  The lighting, filming style and camera work throughout is haunting and rather sinister. We are constantly on edge waiting for something to happen. The film plays mind tricks on both the characters and the audience. To add insult to injury, they add a very untrustworthy but attractive travel writer into the mix. He just wants to get Sara’s story… or so we think. Taylor Kinney plays Aiden, someone who acts far too suspicious for his own good. You will be thinking throughout the whole film ‘what is this guy up to’.

If being stuck lost with a guy who may or may not be trying to kill you is bad enough. There are some creepy Japanese ghosts that look like something from a horror Anime.  I’ve spent way too much time on Tumblr not to find that at least slightly amusing. Well up until I saw there creepy faces.


I find that this is one of those films to educate you on what NOT TO DO IN A HORROR FILM. Firstly, don’t run out on your own in a very haunted location… stick together! Second, if you know the forest is trying to get you to kill yourself don’t try and cut your wrists if you think that something is crawling under your skin. I don’t think that many bugs would suddenly appear under your arm. Third, if someone in your group already thinks you are trying to kill them, don’t act even more suspicious.

Despite the fantastic acting and potential storyline, I found that the ending was fairly weak. We are suddenly given a huge plot twist but with very little time for it to sink in. I believe they could have made the story much scarier. They had such an infamous location and so much creative room to work with but they just didn’t meet my expectations. However, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. The film also attempts the ending of the ‘Sinister’ franchise but fails due to lack of either make up or CGI quality.  There is nothing worse than a shitty ending.

Overall, the film is good for a late night watch in front of the TV but I would have been slightly pissed off if I paid to watch it in the cinema.

How have you not seen this? – Deathbyapril- April Ely.


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