Thursday, April 7, 2016
This Forest Needs To Be Clear Cut
A couple of years back I watched a documentary on Aokigahara Forest in Japan, widely known there as the Suicide Forest. It was only a little over 20 minutes long but it did leave you with a very heavy vibe. This is a forest where those who are so lonely, so depressed, so tired of the rat race that is Japan in the 21st Century, all go to contemplate and possibly commit suicide, or in many cases they simply go in knowing full well they going to go threw with it. Those who aren't sure often tie a ribbon , or a string, to a tree when they enter and in case they find some reason to live they will have a way out of the forest. Because this forest is BIG, dark, and very deep. Even going in for a hike one would either need a guide or stay on the designated trails and not go off in the untamed wilds at all.
This documentary was very powerful and I KNEW from the moment I saw it someone would make a horror movie about this. When I saw the previews for this movie, while knowing almost every movie based on something like this is just a cheap cash in, i felt like it had a chance with the right writer and director at the helm. Weeeeelll my hopes where certainly dashed all to hell and they weren't that high to begin with..... I never knew your hopes could be dashed below the bottom line, but its possible.... that's the movies one surprising thing in this whole films tools box.
OK the set up Sara is a twin, and she gets a call from Japan telling her that her sister has possibly committed suicide and is missing. Naturally she goes to Japan to find her sister because apparently twins have super powers and just KNOW when the other dies. Sara is adamant that she feels her sister and she is not dead, she must be lost in the Suicide Forest.
She meets a writer in the bar also interested the forest and who wants to do a story on her and the search for her sister. This writer Aiden, played by Taylor Kinney, is about as shallow as a puddle and only serves to add someone Sara's character can play off of as the Forest drives her crazy and makes her paranoid, finally convincing her that Aiden had something to do with Jess's death.
Cheap scares that fail to produce even the smallest of jumps or even a deep breath. There is one key point to the plot that is so insulting to the audience that I will only say this much about it.... they have Sara tell why Jess is depressed and has tried to commit suicide before. The story is told in a flashback that INTENDS to be a little of a mystery, because Sara never seen what Jess did and Jess never told her. When they show the rest of the flashback later in the movie, they must have truly thought the viewers had not figured out what happened.... Its confusing I KNOW but if you watch this abortion of a movie you will see what I mean. It insults the audience to use a twist so obvious from the very second you see the set up.
Anyway the biggest part of the movie happens in the forest after Aiden and Sara agree to spend the night in case Jess was lost, kinda stupid since people all over the forest have been in there with fires burning while they contemplate death and she hadn't been to any of them. Its really just a stupid premise, but it gets even more idiotic.
Sara sees a girl in Japanese school clothes and she eventually catches up with her, where upon the girl tells Sara not to trust Aiden. (Like we didn't see something like that coming) So from then on she is a bitch to Aiden in every single way, constantly accusing him of killing Jess etc. The plot is so simple from there I could write it on a business card ...
Forest drives Sara crazy, she tries and eventually kills Aiden, then she sees what really happened to her parents what Jess had seen and what Sara had thought was a car wreck caused by a drunk driver. The scene of her mother and father both dead in a murder suicide performed by her father. Which we already knew from the earlier story of Sara telling Aiden how her parents died in a car crash and Sara had seen it. In the scene she is running down stairs into a ROOM WITH CARPET... not a garage or a door that opens to the outside, its obviously the stairs that lead down to a basement wreck room. THEY EVEN MENTION AND PLAY TWO LOUD BOOMS THAT WHERE OBVIOUSLY SHOTGUN BLAST! But their twist is Sara learning this, and knowing why Jess has always been so depressed. I honestly checked out right there.... They have one good character in the entire movie, Yukiyashi Ozawa plays the Forest Director Michi who tries to speak common sense to Sara and who knows about the forest and how it can use a persons pain to cause them to go insane and do horrible things. There are many many little things that are never explained, the Japanese School girl, random scary old people, honestly the main characters have a back story that can be written on a napkin. I commend the actors for doing the best with what they where given, Taylor Kinney does his best to get threw the lines, and you can tell he is a competent actor and has a bright future. Natalie Dormer however.....ohhh god.... what can I say about her and her acting.... maybe horror just isn't her genre. I have seen that before, where actors who can play very well in drama, or comedy, just can't play in a horror film because they can not emote enough to portray fear, confusion, dismay, all the emotions that come with a good thriller. Her acting is just stiff and not once did I truly see her show the amount of fear and just plain terror that any normal person would in a forest full of fucking ghosts and even having halucinations which cause her to mutilate herself doesn't seam to effect her . I didn't know full frontal lobotomy patients where so easy to find now days but apparently they come in the form of a actress who's performance is so forgettable, and so plastic, I thought a talking barbie had been CGI installed threw half the movie.
Maybe it is not Natalie Dormers fault however because the script was certainly no masterpiece of dialogue. The writer, or shall I say writers, Ben Ketai, Sarah Cornwell, Nick Antosca, have used their talent to no doubt earn a quick buck and leave town before they notice how bad it really is..... Of course this could have been the case of one writer working a while, he/she gets canned, and another one comes in, and its always harder to finish another writers mystery. I am not sure of the process they used here.... If it was all three at once bouncing ideas off one another then MY GOD , someone should have shit canned all three and hired one of the boys from the mail room because he probably could have done better. IF .... and that's a big IF, its the other reason, a writer having to try and finish another writers work, then I can cut them a little slack. Its not like collaborative fiction where people work together, its being told here's 20 pages, finish the rest,and I can really feel sympathy for any writer in that situation.
BUT no matter who or how it was written, it still is one totally shit script. Its the type of script that if a big actor where signed on, they would have walked off the set first day and said "Fuck this I'd rather do a Fast and Furious sequel than this shit"
Unfortunately our cast here was not so influential. They struggle threw it, they try, but in the end, the movie is just a bomb..... not the bomb... a bomb.... as in it sucks, the effects are shitty, the story isn't even scary, its predictable, its a rip off of a 20 minute documentary that is way better than the 10 MILLION they spent on this turd.
The director Jason Zada, is the man who unleashed that horrible Elf Yourself app onto the world, and a far as I can see, his greatest contribution to society has been that Elf Yourself marketing campaign, then somehow that makes him eligible to take 10 million bucks, a actress from Game of Thrones, and what could have been a SUPERB supernatural thriller with a very real look at depression and the darkness that many of us carry in our hearts every day but fight to keep tings together for one reason or another.
I suffer from Manic Depression, dark mania at that, which means when I go manic I shit down, i don't want to talk or see anyone, i just felt like the idea of talking to anyone is almost panic attack inducing. With this kind of mania comes thoughts of suicide and I have thought about it very deeply. I have got my daughter however and I could never put her threw that. I will not be like my father was, I will always be here for my daughter, I may be having issues, but noting comes before her.
This movie could have really showed the pain of someone who is on tat edge, who feels like the world is caving in, the past, the present, and worst of all the future are all out of control, and the chances to stop this speeding train to suicide station are almost all gone...... Instead, its a standard ghost story, and not very good at that either. I tried to make this review as spoiler free as possible but some things had to be talked about to be understood in their review. In all honesty if you want to see a good film about The Suicide Forest of Japan, watch the Vice Documentary below. It is respectful, and true to the nature of Japanese culture, and their respect for the dead,its also haunting and hopeful at the same time. A combination hard to pull off.
TIME FOR THE SCORE! I give this film 3 stars out of a possible 10. And those three all go to the setting, and to the one actor who is partially believable, and who should have been a major part of the film but instead did his job as the token "Wise Japanese Dude" Yukiyahi Ozawa did a good job of really playing his character in a believable way, you KNOW he is right, you KNOW he has seen this forest swallow people up by the dozens, but like all the people who always try and warn the teens about to camp, the guy about to fish in the ocean, the man staying in the hotel for the winter, all the foreshadow men in the entire history of movies.... of course.... he is ignored. To me he was the one character I wanted to see more of, the rest was just filler and cheap jump scares. Stay far far away from this turd and watch the documentary below instead.
Thanks for reading this, the first of hopefully many movie reviews. Have you seen The Forest? leave a comment with what you think, was I wrong? To hard on the actors or the director..... i have to force my fingers to write director when your claim to fame is a fucking app that lets you put your face on a dancing elf.... WHY HOLLYWOOD WHY? Hell if that talent less ass can get 10 million to make that shit fest of a movie give me 5 and I will make something at least better than that!.... not five million 5 bucks lol Peace out my friends, and remember love one another, even if the other guy sucks! :)