The Forest (Blu-ray)

March 28, 2016 5 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton and Matt Malouf

Plot: What’s it about?

After her twin sister, Jess disappears, Sara Price (Natalie Dormer, in a dual role) travels to Japan to search for her. The trouble is, she’s told that her sister went into the forest where it’s rumored that one goes there to commit suicide. Once Sara gets to Japan, she meets a reporter named Aiden (Taylor Kinney) who agrees to go with her into the forest. They also bring along a park guide. We see them as they’re searching for Jess. Once it gets too dark, they call it a night and agree to search again when it’s daylight. The film certainly makes the most out of its atmosphere, but fails to do much beyond that.

If you’ve seen pretty much any horror/thriller in the past several decades then you should have an idea what to expect here. We get plenty of loud noises, attempts at jump scares and the obligatory “Got ya” style ending. What you won’t get a lot of are some really good scares. I heard little about this film prior to release, but I did see the pretty terrible reviews all around. I wouldn’t call this film awful, but it’s definitely a missed opportunity. There’s so much potential here for some really great scares, but it’s mostly a boring and plodding affair. The premise is reasonably intriguing, and I admit I did wonder the outcome, but everything in between is bland. The film has an Indy feel, but also seems like it wants to please a larger audience. It comes up short on both accounts. What we’re left with is a horror film that’s not scary and mostly boring and confusing.

Video: How’s it look?

There’s no doubt about it that this is a dark film, both physically and in the way it was shot. The 1.85:1 AVC HD image isn’t challenged in the least when it comes to the dark, dank Yurei forest. Given the nature of the film itself, I was expecting something fairly dark (my head went to something like The Ring) and I wasn’t let down. This is the first film that was released in 2016 and, as such, the technical quality on Blu-ray’s shows no signs of slowing down. What I mean by that is that it looks pretty damn amazing. Yes, the flesh tones are a bit oversaturated and a tad inconsistent in some places, but taking it at face value (pardon the pun), no one will be let down.

Audio: How’s it sound?

A fairly interesting, yet somehow “standard” DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack in included. All of the usual occurrences are here and when you’re talking scary movies, well…you know what to expect. Vocals are tried and true, crisp and clean while surrounds provide some much needed ambiance. There was nothing too terribly memorable about this track, it serves its purpose and managed to impress me a few times. No complaints here.

Supplements: What are the extras?

  • Audio Commentary – Director Jason Zada helms the obligatory audio commentary track which, truthfully, has a few moments. He explains some of the motivations for making the film, the casting and shooting the rather unique locale. There is nothing mind-blowing here, but die hard fans (admit it, there’s got to be a few out there) might get a kick out of it.
  • Exploring The Forest – Cast and filmmakers discuss their initial attraction to the project and the history behind the Aokigahara Forest; and dive into the characterizations, the visual effects, and the lore of the infamous Yurei.
  • Galleries – Some production stills that can be played automatically or manually.
  • Storyboards – Rough artwork and some pre-visusaliztion for the film.

The Bottom Line

Despite a decent premise, The Forest did little for me. It comes up short on suspense and is mostly just boring. By no means is it an awful film, but more of a disappointing one given the potential. Skip it.

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