13 March 2016

If Only The Forest Would Get Lost

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Do you know when your night out is ruined by the fact that drinking alcohol turns everybody into a massive raging fucknugget? Well in many ways The Forest is the cinematic equivalent of the morning after. You're aware that you didn't exactly have a good time but it kind of doesn't matter because you've already started to forget the whole thing even happened. To quickly summarise the plot before the film's entire existence fades into obscurity, Natalie Dormer plays two identical twins with one of them getting lost in some creepy Japanese suicide forest and the other going in to find her. You can tell them apart because of Dormer's acting ability here, in which the director had so much faith that he thought he'd dye the twins hair a different colour. Obviously the sister that's on the hunt for the other is aware that her missing sibling is still alive due to the film's insistence that all twins share a special psychic connection. This is obviously a coincidence because, like all twins that claim to share a psychic connection, the film is also total crap.

It's also worth noting that the forest that this film's story revolves around is an actual place in which actual people continue to commit actual suicide. Now maybe I'm uptight, but it does seem morally dubious to then use the source of an ongoing series of tragedies and turn it into a trashy, piece of shit movie. I mean, it seems that every other day some nutless cock-womble is heading into their school and shooting the living fuck out of everyone. If somebody then took one of those events, cast Bruce Willis as the headmaster, and turned it into his latest crappy action film, then wouldn't people be pissed off about that? And obviously with 'that' I mean because it'd be insensitive and not because most of Bruce Willis's recent films have been as wank as he is bald. Nor does it help that I've actually seen a short documentary on this forest by the online investigative magazine Vice. Interestingly, this would be the same documentary that I suspect the filmmakers here will have seen due to the fact that when we first get our tour of the forest they've essentially gone and remade it. Although having said that, I don't remember a bit in the documentary in which it's explained that the forest itself can send people mad enough to kill themselves. If that's the case then I can't help but wish that this film had saved me ninety minutes of my life being going into the fucking forest for a hike itself.

Oh, and in reality, the actual forest ranger seemed to be a quiet and humble man whereas here he's like the Japanese version of Jurassic Park's Robert Muldoon. Except whereas Muldoon was an expert on Raptors, this guy has hardened himself to the conveyor belt of horror cliches that The Forest will subject you to. Have you seen such films as Don't Look Now, The Blair Which Project, and literally any Japanese horror to feature one of those creepy little schoolgirls with long dark hair? You know the ones I mean.. they're in films like Ringu and kind of remind me of an early-1990's Bjork with a really bad hangover. You have seen all of those things? Oh.. well unless you were hoping to see their key moments incompetently remade in a film that's about as scary as being at the top of the stairs when receiving a death threat from Stephen Hawking, then maybe you should give The Forest a miss. Particularly when any tension within the film is totally under-mined by the ranger who tells Dormer to remember that everything she sees is completely in her own head. Now, this film isn't even remotely scary as it is, but it's even less so when we already know that we're not seeing a woman subjected to demons but one that's simply gotten lost and had a dicky-fit. You know that moment when you try to pull a t-shirt and a jumper off at the same time but they get stuck around your head and you irrationally panic for a second. Well, essentially, that's just what happens to Dormer's character here but with the whole thing being dragged out for an hour and a half.

However lets assume that you do suffer from some sort Memento-like shit-brain and forget about the vice documentary, all of the horror films that have been ripped off, and the park ranger's advice.. is it possible that you might find this film scary? Well, if you find yourself with an irrational fear of heavily signposted jump-scares then maybe. There was a bit where the woman was running through the trees before falling down a hole in the ground that might shock you, but having had it happen to me the night before it just made me want to play Minecraft. It also seems to rely a lot on having ghosts turn up, with almost every single one of them looking like either a Japanese woman that's dressed up as Peter Stringfellow or Peter Stringfellow on his way out to a particularly racist fancy dress party. If you'd hooked me up to some sort of heart machine then you'd see that my pulse didn't change at all throughout, with the exception of when the closing credits suggested the movie was over and I got a bit excited to leave. Although it probably doesn't help that the key threat of the film was announced near the start with a character stating that “the forest will make you see things that make you want to die”. To which I thought “I'm a terminally single twenty-seven year old that lives with his parents because I'm struggling to get anything better than my currently shit job. If all that forest can do is make me want to die than I may as well have stayed at fucking home”.

The other problem that this crappy movie has is that it literally has piss-all to say about anything. You know how when a duck is swimming in a pond all we can see is it floating merrily along, but beneath the water its little legs are paddling away? Well take another horror film like The Babadook for example. Put simply, The Babadook is all about an evil demon that's haunting a mother and child, but like the swimming duck the real work is being done below the surface. It's rife with ambiguity and double-meaning allowing multiple, widely different interpretations of the events. Plus it has a brilliant message about how to cope with various anxieties, depressions, and stresses. If The Babadook was a swimming duck then it'd be the Oscar Pistorius of the bird-world due to the efficiency of it's super-enhanced feet. By contrast, The Forest has literally no underlying message behind its superficial and boring story. Literally the only subtext I can find for the film is 'don't bother helping your dull fucking family' and trust me, I don't need a film to convince me of that. It does attempt to treat us to some tragic backstory that might add a little weight to things but despite being a fairly simple addition to the movie, the filmmakers still manage to fuck it up. Therefore if The Forest was a duck, not only is it not bothering to paddle at all but it'd be the bird equivalent of Oscar Pistorius's girlfriend after she's regretted the decision to go for a piss in the night.

But like I say.. It's hard to get too mad at this film because it's essentially just the movie version of doing a cheeky queef at a charity 'fart-off for amnesia' event. Nobody's going to notice it and those that did will already be starting to forget. Does anybody remember a film called Shrooms? I didn't think so.. and those that do probably haven't thought about it since it came out about nine years ago and they thought "Note to self- don't remember that shit film". Well this is just another one of those 'scary movies' that thinks its main villain is the psychological embodiment of evil, whereas its biggest threat is simply that it's fucking boring. In fact if it wasn't for its over reliance on loud noises and jump-scares then I'd say this would be a good movie to come in and have a kip to. Sadly I can't say that and so am now struggling to think who I'd recommend The Forest to if anybody. Maybe if your partner has severe memory problems due to some sort of mental trauma then you could come here for a date and then both forget the movie together as an act of solidarity? The added bonus of this would be that eventually your partner would also forget they were mad at you for taking them to see such a crap film. I dunno, that's really the best thing I can think to say about it, so thanks for reading motherfuckers, and see you next time.



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