Plot: What’s it about?
While not quite an “End of the world” flick, Into the Forest takes a look at one family and their struggle to cope with a massive power outage. The two sisters are Nell (Ellen Page) and Eva (Evan Rachel Wood). It’s the two of them and their father, Robert (Callum Keith Rennie). They live in a secluded area out in the woods, but there is now a struggle to survive since there’s no power left. We see a bit of the daily routine as they watch their father cut trees, drive to town for gas and other supplies and of course, preparing food with what little resources they have. There’s a twist a bit later, but I’ll leave that for viewers to discover. Much of the film focuses on the two sisters and their daily struggle. A bit of tension occurs when the family drives into town and encounters some bikers at a gas station and there are a few other twists that appear along the way. Sadly, none of it really plays into the larger picture.
Admittedly, Forest isn’t quite as bad as I was expecting, but that’s largely because I wasn’t expecting much at all. The film begins with some promise, but it’s as if the filmmakers don’t know what to do next. It just grows boring after a point. I do like that the film doesn’t have a political agenda nor does it beat us over the head with any message, but that’s also its undoing as it feels so empty. There’s just nothing underneath the hood, so to speak. Both, Page and Wood do decent work here, but they really can’t salvage the film. While there are some surprises in the story, none of them really matter much in the grand scheme of things.
Video: How’s it look?
The 1.85:1 AVC HD encode provides a rather pleasing viewing experience, namely due to the somewhat tranquil nature of the film’s environment (the forest). Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve always found the forest soothing. Then again, I’ve always been able to leave, so that could factor into it as well. Kidding aside, the film has a very natural look and feel to it that’s certainly on par with any new to Blu-ray film. I really didn’t see any major faults, maybe a few softer than normal scenes here and there, but all in all it’s what we’d expect the film to look like.
Audio: How’s it sound?
The included DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack isn’t really challenged much save for a few select scenes. By and large this is a very dialogue-driven film and the center and front channels are used heavily. Surrounds are present, but they’re more window dressing than anything else. This isn’t a “quiet” soundtrack like that of a Woody Allen film, it’s just sparse when it comes to ambient surround effects. Nevertheless, viewers should enjoy the experience.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- The Making of Into the Forest – Running about 15 minutes, this is your typical EPK that has interviews with the cast and crew who seemingly praise anything and everything having to do with the film. True fans might enjoy it, but I really gleamed nothing from it.
- Audio Commentary – Writer/Director Patricia Rozema delivers a pretty spot on commentary with some details about the cast, the shoot and manages to check every box that’s required of a director doing a commentary. It’s enjoyable, but nothing mind-blowing.
The Bottom Line
Despite a fairly interesting premise and a promising opening, Into the Forest quickly grows tiresome and repetitive. The film just doesn’t have much to say or do. It kind of sits there. Performances are fine, but they can’t save this lousy film. Skip it.