Released 01/08/2016 Rated: PG-13
When I first saw the trailer, I was like “Nope. Uh-uh. No thanks.” But then the more I saw it, the more I warmed up to it. The fact that the Aokigahara Forest is a real forest where people go to commit suicide, and has a historical association with angry spirits is intriguing. They didn’t make that part up; it’s real. It took us a while, but we finally got around to seeing it in theaters. Unfortunately, it wasn’t as awesome as I wanted it to be, but I generally liked it.
It’s definitely a jump-scare movie. The PG-13 rating should have tipped me off, but there have been a few gems that didn’t garner an R rating that were genuinely creepy. The Forest has its moments, but some of the scares could have been a little more worth while. I mean, come on. We have a forest full of angry spirits, and —not to say it goes unutilized, but what you’re expecting from this movie does go under-utilized. That last one though (the one I can’t talk about because of spoilers) …oh so creepy!
I wasn’t one hundred percent sure how I felt about Natalie Dormer going into the movie, but I think she did a fantastic job. Playing twins is always a good way to showcase an actor’s range, especially when each twin is on opposite ends of the spectrum, and I really felt like they were two different people. Dormer told USA Today that she loved the challenge, and that as an actor you have to be kind of schizophrenic to play off yourself, rather than take your cues from another actor. I say she nailed it, and I would have loved to have seen more of Jess.
Overall I liked the story. I think I would have liked it more had it branched out a bit. No pun intended. But it works as is. It’s honestly more about the twins and what they’ve been through rather than the evil spirits in the forest, though they do play a key role. Nevertheless, it’s still a pretty good movie with some great twists. Definitely holds that creepy factor, especially with the memory flashbacks. It really keeps you questioning until the credits.