Saturday in the Park – The Forest (2016)

That shoestring budget horror.  So this is about a young girl (Natalie Dormer) who travels to Japan when her identical twin disappears into a forest where people traditionally go to commit suicide.  Naturally, she has to go see for herself if she can locate her.  I knew this was bad going in; a 9% rating on rottentomatoes may be enough to scare most away, but like so many movies before it, I plunged right in.  This isn’t the worst movie I’ve ever seen, but it sure is a dull film with nothing to recommend about it.

2It’s about as exciting as a hike in a wildlife reserve.

The most noteworthy thing about The Forest is that it stars Natalie Dormer from Game of Thrones fame.  While she certainly puts in an earnest effort, there’s really not all that much to work with here, and she fails to elevate a script that was quite frankly D.O.A.  You see, this kind of movie gets released just about every year: a low-budget horror film that gets panned by critics, but it doubles or triples its budget back at the box office because genre fans have been awaiting for something new since Halloween, so they settle for a first quarter release that they would otherwise skip.  The makers of this know that they could get by with a minimal amount of effort, and these movies always do exactly what they have to do from a fiscal standpoint, so can you blame them for phoning it in?

1It’s a giant case of nothing really happening…

This is a horror movie that is really short on anything remotely interesting.  These random old people suddenly appear out of the blue just for the sake of a jump scare, and if you removed those parts and changed the score, you could have marketed this as a travel drama.  It’s never interesting, and it isn’t long before you get the rather large impression that everybody on both sides of the camera are merely going through the motions.  It’s because they are, and I don’t think anybody is going to argue with me.  Also from a logic standpoint, it really doesn’t make a whole lot of sense; to avoid spoilers, I will simply say the words “search parties”.  The whole time it also feels like it is building up to an M. Night sort of twist, and then it wraps up really without explaining itself or giving reasoning behind ending it the way that it did.  There’s nothing to see here, so you’re better off just moving along.

The Forest (2016) *1/2

– Critic for Hire


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