When Jess Price (Natalie Dormer) is last seen heading into Japan's infamous Aokigahara Forest, Sara (also played by Dormer) fears the worst, she quickly flies out to Japan in a bid to find her missing sister.
You may have heard of the Aokigahara forest (dubbed The Suicide Forest) whilst mindlessly watching Youtube videos about the creepiest places on Earth. If you are unaware, it is a forest where a usually high number of suicides occur and it's also the setting for the Natalie Dormer led horror film The Forest. Some people were getting a little over-sensitive about the setting of this film, but the setting isn't the problem. The problem is that whilst the film doesn't play facetiously with the dark story attributed to the forest it does use the fact that the forest is notorious for its high suicide rate as a simple scare tactic rather than looking to develop anything meaningful out of it.
Like many of the horror fodder films that are released during the early months of the new year (The Boy this year and Annabelle and Ouija the year before) The Forest is a standard, by the numbers stuff more likely to be appreciated by the mainstream audience rather than a seasoned horror fan who has seen it all. Still, there are interesting ideas but the way the forest could play with your perception of reality could have been developed further when it comes to suspicion and paranoia of a character's motivation. However, the film sort of waves away any interesting ideas as it seems to focus more on a clichéd jump scares where something ghastly and ghostly jumps at the screen.
Natalie Dormer (playing both identical twins) is fine in the lead role, but with The Forest's creepy Japanese girls, ghostly apparitions and sudden shocks it's a massive case of been there, done that. That said, however, it's another fine example of the high level of professionality in the horror genre, even the most middle of the road horror films can't be criticised for being badly made. Boring and generic perhaps, but badly made? No.