Natalie Dormer (‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘Hunger Games: Mockingjay' both parts) adds “Scream Queen” to her resumé with her starring role in the latest J-Horror (Japanese Horror) movie ‘The Forest.’ Inspired by the mythical Aokigahara Forest, infamously known as the place where people go to commit suicide, ‘The Forest’ seeks to chill the audience the same way ‘The Ring’ and ‘The Grudge’ did so many years ago.
Dormer plays Sarah, a young woman whose twin sister “disappeared” in the Aokigahara Forest. With the preternatural connection that twins are famously known for, she sensed that her twin was lost but still alive. Hopping on the next flight to Japan, she went in search of her missing sister. With the aid of a strapping Australian reporter (Taylor Kinney), Sarah ventures into ‘The Forest’ and encounters a series of strange apparitions and supernatural happenstances that could be either real or imagined. That’s J-Horror for you.
While ‘The Forest’ was intriguing at first, it soon lost momentum about midway through and the ending simply collapsed into an unbelievably jumbled mess. The scares were few and far in between and not really scary at all. As a horror fan (and Asian horror in particular), I am sorely disappointed in this rather limp and passionless effort. If I have to find something positive at all to say about the film, it’s that it was not filmed in shaky camera “found footage” style. And that’s the only reason I didn’t give it an F.