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The Forest for the Tropes


The Forest Review

The Forest follows a woman who travels to Japan to investigate the disappearance of her twin sister in the infamous Aokigahara forest, known for housing an irregular number of suicides. In reality, the Aokigahara forest, despite its very haunting reputation outside of context, is more of a morbid commentary on Japanese culture than it is any supernatural happenings. Having said that, it is the perfect setting for a horror movie...should it be done right.

Instead, what we get is a repetitive formula of mainstream horror that gives us literally nothing new. I feel like it's the same ol' soapbox bashing on the same style of movie, but it simply is history repeating itself. The Forest offers little in legitimate scares, nothing in storyline, and provides a criminally low amount of momentum given the subject matter from which it can refuel. Every character and piece of story is so predictable, it was like a poorly made satire that didn't recognize the humor it was creating.

I felt literally irritated by the lack of original characters, plot, and scare devices. It continually reminded me with every scene that it wasn't going to give us anything new to the craft. Not a single thing. And when I had given up hope, it didn't disappoint the expectations it had enforced upon itself.

As most mainstream horror goes, the production value is driven by its Hollywood roots that allow it to hold some level of quality. The cinematography isn't bad, the acting not horrid, but it just wasn't enough to salvage a trope-filled horror film that merely took the road more often traveled to reach its theatrical destination.

I was most disappointed by the scares. They seemed like lazy attempts at Americanized Japanese jump scares, managing to be nothing more than eye-rolling most of the time. The character-driven plot holes went from obvious to egregious, to the point that I couldn't enjoy any aspects of the film. It was standard, mild mainstream horror, and its lack of fire made it an obvious bust before the film could finish its first act.

Horror Qualifier: 7/10

Horror Quality: 2/10

Film Quality: 2/10

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