Thursday, May 5, 2016

Phil sees THE FOREST from Gramercy Pictures - May 2, 2016

2016 is shaping up to be a promising year for horror films. One of the first films to be released this year was also one of the best horror films to be released in January, which as you may or may not now, is usually the dumping ground for studios to release films that either were plagued with productions problems or weren't that good. Which is a shame because THE FOREST was one of the better horror films to have come out in January in a very, very long time.

Theatrical Movie Poster
The film's official synopsis: A woman named Sara Price (Natalie Dormer) goes into Japan's Suicide Forest to find her twin sister Jess, and confronts supernatural terror.

One of the main aspects that I look for in a horror movie is the atmosphere. Is it creepy? Is it spooking? Is it giving me chills? Is it suspenseful? Thankfully, a resounding "yes" to all of these requirements and more!

Actress Natalie Dormer does a phenomenal job portraying twins Sara and Jess Price. She gives both of them their own body language, mannerism and their own personality. Sara is more grounded and Sara seems lost in the world. However, both can feel if the other is in trouble and it's Sara who flies out to Japan to find out what happened to Jess. While in the forest, Dormer gives a terrifying performance that plays with your mind and emotions. Without wanting to give away any of the film's plot or reveal spoilers, let me say that Natalie Dormer is one of the best actress to appear in a horror film in a very, very long time. Caring, determined and vulnerable, she gives Sara a real world feel to her character and makes us become involved in her search for her missing sister. Congrats to Miss Dormer and I hope to see her in more films in the future.

Director makes his feature length debut, having directed several shorts before directing this film. He gets the right blend of thrills and horror right at the start of the film. The beginning of the movie reminds me a lot of Dario Argento's classic SUSPIRIA. The opening with Sara arriving at the airport in Japan is stylized and captured beautifully, much like Argento's film. Zada compositions captures both the tranquility and the horror of the Suicide Forest. He definately has an eye for detail and each frame of the film is filled with something that means something to both the characters Sara and the story. The film's script was written by the trio of Nick Antosca, Sarah Cornwell and Ben Ketai and all three should be applauded on writing such a fine story. It examines how frail the human spirit can be to the point that one has the will to commit suicide. That to me is true horror, feeling that life can be so difficult and hard to live in and the only means of escaping is to end your own life by your own hands. If that isn't horrifying then I don't know what is.

The film's forest is actually based on Aokigahara, known as the Suicide Forest or Sea of Trees. Located at the north-west base of the famous Mount Fuji in Japan, "the forest has an association with demons in Japanese mythology, and is a common suicide site." Unbelievable as this may sound but there's a sign at the start of the main trail urges suicidal visitors to contact a suicide prevention association. Now tourists, visitors and hikers have reported seeing strange things in the forest, some have even stumbled upon human remains of those who had committed suicide. Maybe not the romantic getaway for couples, but if you are a fan of the supernatural, disturbing and down right spooky things that go bump in the night then this is a place that you may want to add to your itinerary.

THE FOREST is a supernatural thriller that creeps up on you and makes the hair on your arm and neck stand up! It's a deeply creepy, unnerving film that will make you have nightmares in the daylight! Even the film's poster is scary looking! One of the best horror of films of 2016 thus far! 4 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!

THE FOREST is still playing in select theaters nationwide. The movie is also available on Blu-Ray, DVD as well as on Video On Demand, Netflix and at your local Redbox and retailer.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

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