The Forest Movie Review
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The Forest is a 2016 American supernatural horror film directed by Jason Zada and written by Nick Antosca, Sarah Cornwell, and Ben Ketai.

The movie follows the story of Sara Price, played by Natalie Dormer, as she travels to Aokigahara Forest in Japan to search for her twin sister who has gone missing.

The eerie premise of the movie is based on the real-life Aokigahara Forest that is known for its high suicide rates.

The Forest received mixed reviews from critics upon its release.

While some praised the performances and the unique setting of the film, others criticized it for its predictable plot and lack of suspense.

In this article, we will delve deeper into The Forest’s strengths and weaknesses as a horror movie.

We will analyze how well it manages to utilize the real-life location as a source of fear and tension while also examining whether or not it manages to create a sense of dread that is necessary for any good horror film.

The Premise And Setting Of The Forest

The Forest is a supernatural horror movie that takes place in the Aokigahara forest, a real-life dense forest located at the base of Mount Fuji in Japan.

The film follows Sara Price (Natalie Dormer), a young American woman who travels to Japan in search of her missing twin sister, Jess (also played by Dormer). She learns that Jess went into the Aokigahara forest, also known as the Suicide Forest since many people go there to end their lives.

Sara teams up with a local guide, Aiden (Taylor Kinney), to venture into the forest and search for her sister.

Exploring mythology is one of the key elements of The Forest’s premise. The Aokigahara forest has long been associated with Japanese folklore and mythology, where it is believed to be inhabited by Yurei – vengeful ghosts who died tragically or were not given proper burial rites.

The movie uses this myth to create an eerie atmosphere that adds to the overall sense of dread and horror. Additionally, the film employs visual storytelling techniques such as flashbacks and dream sequences to give insight into Sara’s past and reveal clues about her sister’s disappearance.

These techniques keep viewers engaged while building tension throughout the story.

Analysis Of The Performances

The performances in ‘The Forest’ were a mixed bag. While some actors delivered strong and nuanced performances, others fell flat and failed to fully embody their characters.

One of the standout performances came from lead actress Natalie Dormer, who played twin sisters Sara and Jess. Dormer effectively captured the contrasting personalities of both characters and was able to convey their emotional turmoil in a convincing manner. Character development was strongest for the lead character, Sara/Jess.

However, other actors were not as successful in their roles. Several supporting actors seemed to struggle with bringing depth to their characters, resulting in one-dimensional performances that felt hollow and lacking in authenticity. The supporting cast struggled with bringing depth to their characters.

Additionally, while there were some interesting acting choices made throughout the film, such as the use of subtle facial expressions to convey emotions, there were also instances where overacting detracted from the overall impact of a scene. Acting choices ranged from subtle nuances to over-the-top theatrics.

Some performances lacked authenticity. Overall, while there were moments of strong acting in ‘The Forest’, inconsistencies in character development and performance choices prevented it from reaching its full potential.

Examining The Plot And Suspense

The plot of ‘The Forest’ revolves around Sara, a young woman who travels to Japan in search of her twin sister Jess, who has disappeared within the Aokigahara Forest. As she ventures into the woods with a guide named Aiden, she encounters a series of supernatural events that test her sanity and resolve. The story is structured in a way that gradually builds up suspense through various twists and turns, keeping the audience on their toes until the final act.

One aspect that stands out in ‘The Forest’ is its character development. The film takes its time to flesh out Sara’s backstory and motivations, allowing viewers to understand her perspective and empathize with her struggles.

Similarly, Aiden is given enough depth to make him more than just a plot device or love interest. This attention to detail makes their journey all the more gripping, as we become invested in their fates and how they will overcome the challenges ahead.

Exploring twists and character development are two key elements that make ‘The Forest’ an intense and memorable thriller. By cleverly weaving together a haunting atmosphere with well-crafted characters, this film manages to keep us engaged from start to finish.

Whether you’re a fan of horror or just looking for an immersive cinematic experience, ‘The Forest’ delivers on both fronts with impressive skill and style.

Utilization Of Real-Life Location For Fear And Tension

The Forest is one of the few horror films that succeeded in utilizing real-life locations to create a sense of fear and tension. The film was shot in Aokigahara, a dense forest at the base of Mount Fuji in Japan, which is known for its reputation as a suicide destination. The forest’s eerie atmosphere and isolation contribute to the film’s overall tone, making it an ideal location for a horror movie.

The Forest: Nature’s Terror is amplified by the use of Aokigahara’s natural beauty and treacherous terrain. The dense foliage and winding paths add to the sense of being lost, while the caves and cliffs provide a sense of danger. Psychological Horror: Mind Games further adds to the fear factor as characters are forced to confront their own demons amidst the chaos.

Overall, The Forest successfully uses its real-life location to create an immersive experience that keeps viewers on edge throughout its runtime.


Tips on how to enjoy watching The Forest:

  • Watch it with friends or family
  • Have some snacks ready for jump scares

Other movies similar to The Forest:

  • Blair Witch Project (1999)
  • It Follows (2014) – Both movies also rely heavily on atmospheric tension and a sense of dread to create a truly terrifying experience for viewers.

Creating A Sense Of Dread – Does The Forest Deliver?

The Forest does an excellent job of creating a sense of dread throughout the film. From the moment the protagonist, Sara, steps foot into Aokigahara Forest in Japan, viewers are immediately submerged into a world filled with unease and uncertainty.

The camera work is employed effectively to create an oppressive atmosphere where every shadow and sound become ominous. The film’s exploration of symbolism is also noteworthy as it adds depth to the psychological horror genre that The Forest belongs to.

Exploring themes of grief, loss, and mental illness, The Forest manages to terrify its audience through complex character development rather than cheap jump scares. Natalie Dormer’s performance is exceptional as she portrays a woman battling her inner demons while trying to uncover the truth behind her twin sister’s disappearance.

Although the film could have benefitted from a more coherent plotline in some areas, it still delivers on its promise of creating a haunting experience for its viewers. The Forest proves to be a well-crafted psychological horror that explores profound themes and employs symbolism to create an immersive experience for audiences.

While some may criticize its lackluster plotline or pacing issues, it ultimately succeeds in delivering an eerie ambiance that will stay with viewers long after the credits roll.


The Forest, directed by Jason Zada, is a horror movie set in the Aokigahara forest of Japan. This film follows Sara (Natalie Dormer) as she searches for her twin sister who has mysteriously disappeared in the woods.

The premise sets up a promising story that could have delivered a satisfying horror experience. However, despite strong performances from Dormer and Taylor Kinney, the film fails to deliver on its potential.

The plot of The Forest is predictable and lacks originality. While there are moments of suspense and tension, they are overshadowed by cliches and jump scares.

The utilization of real-life location adds to the fear factor but ultimately falls short due to poor execution. The sense of dread that should be present throughout the film is lacking because it relies too heavily on cheap thrills rather than building a genuine atmosphere of terror.

In conclusion, while The Forest had potential with its premise and setting, it ultimately falls flat due to a predictable plot and reliance on jump scares over genuine fear. Despite strong performances from its cast, this horror movie fails to deliver a satisfying experience for audiences looking for more than just surface-level scares.

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