A young woman conducts a search for her twin sister, who disappeared in a notorious area of Japan known as the Suicide Forest.
Director: Jason Zada
Information Page: https://uk.newonnetflix.info/info/80049282
Sara Price (Natalie Dormer), an American woman, receives a phone call from the Japanese police telling her that they think her troubled twin sister Jess is dead, as she was seen going into Aokigahara, a forest at the northwest base of Mount Fuji in Japan known as a popular destination for the suicidal. Despite the concerns of her fiancé, Rob (Eoin Macken), she journeys to Japan and arrives at the hotel where her sister was staying.
At her hotel, Sara meets a fellow American reporter named Aiden (Taylor Kinney). They drink together, and she tells him of her parents’ death in a drunk driving accident years earlier, which her sister witnessed, but Sara did not. Aiden invites her to go into the forest with him and a park guide, Michi (Yukiyoshi Ozawa), so she can look for her sister.
I have recently discovered a love of horror films, and I’ve started working my way through the entire series’ of ‘Friday 13th’, ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ and ‘Halloween’, so when ‘The Forest’ was added to Netflix I knew it was something I was going to put on my watch list. It just had an amazingly creepy feel to it and knowing that it was a real place made it even more appealing. However whilst I enjoyed it, it didn’t fully meet my expectations and I thought it could have been scarier.
Japan’s Aokigahara “Suicide Forest” by itself is a creepy and gruesome place because of its reputation as one of the most notorious suicide spots in the world as well as its historic association with demons in Japanese mythology. It’s inherently scary atmosphere is perfect for a good horror movie, however, there are times when this movie doesn’t make use of these eerie surroundings and instead appear to go for easier ‘jump scares’.
Whilst the story is good and the acting flawless I felt that the story could have been told anywhere as it is more a story of ‘Twin connection’, and the back story of Sara and Jess than a story about Aokigahara or the yūrei, which I felt could have been focused on a little bit more.
The Forest is more of a complex story than first meets the eye and I’m still not 100% sure that this is a story about suicide, but more of a story about mental health. Whilst being sure to avoid spoilers, I’ll try to explain. As children, Sara and Jess are brought up by their Grandma because of something that happens to their parents. Jess sees the incident but Sara doesn’t and each time Sara tells the story it changes slightly. This led me to wonder during the film if Jess really ever existed or is she Sara’s way of coping with her childhood, and was it really Sara who wanted to go into Aokigahara?
All in all ‘The Forest’ is a great film that I did really enjoy, it has good acting and amazing scenery and I’d fully recommend it to both horror or mystery fans alike.
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