Natalie Dormer impresses in this sub-par J-Horror rip-off, playing an American sister in Japan in search of her twin who’s got lost in the mysterious Aokigahara Forest at the foot of Mt Fuji.
I’m aware of this place’s spooky powers because I saw Gus Van Sant’s Sea of Trees at Cannes last year. It’s held to be a place where many Japanese go to commit suicide and where unhappy spirits lure people to the underworld. I’m now thinking it’s a bit of a movie graveyard too.
Dormer, playing Sarah, has a great, twitchy face and lovely eyes for a close up and she combines that with a lithe physicality here as she dashes about the forest floor, falling into caves and grappling with demons.
However, The Forest** is a bit of a silly film, with random shocks, none of which come as any great revelation or scare, and some unexplained characters, including a charming American journalist and -de rigueur for the genre – a spooky Japanese schoolgirl.