The Forest Review

After thinking about my movie watching habits, I decided to start seeing more films of questionable quality. Lately most of the films I’ve watched have been superb. There’s nothing wrong with only seeing high-quality movies, but I tend not to have anything interesting to say about them. Seeing bad movies should give me more interesting and vicious things to say on this blog.

First on my list of supposedly bad movies is The Forest. It follows Sarah, played by Natalie Dormer, as she tracks down her twin sister Jess, also played by Dormer, who supposedly committed suicide in the Aokigahara forest. Along the way, Sarah teams up with the handsome and charming Aidan who accompanies her to write a news story.

Early on it becomes clear that the movie is confused, and not in a good way. Sarah tells Aidan the story of how her parents were killed by a drunk driver, but the images on screen do not support this narrative. On screen, it appears that Sarah and Jess’s father kills his wife and commits suicide, creating a strange inconsistency.

Also, it would help a lot if Sarah were a somewhat interesting or complex character. Her basic “need to find my sister” motivations become tiresome quickly. The flatness of Dormer’s character is the true downfall of this movie. All she needs is one or two well-timed lines to make her character more three-dimensional. Instead we are expected to trudge along with Sarah’s annoyingly singular goal. She feels like a robot programmed to do one thing and no one wants to watch a movie about that.

The movie relies pretty heavily on jump scares. I would like to think that I am desensitized to such frights, but in truth, I do not watch enough horror. At least two times, I felt my chest tingle when the music volume increased and something scary yet odd happened on screen. Jump scares are effective but they feel cheap. They have the effect of pissing me off because they don’t feel earned.

So this movie has some things going for it. Dormer is nice to look at, it takes place in Japan and some parts are effectively chillling, such as the images of bodies hanging from nooses in the forest. It’s obvious that the movie had some material removed. Certain lines suggest a more complete story, but perhaps it would have been a bore. The film barely reaches and hour and a half and I was glad when it ended. If I had paid to see The Forest, I would have felt ripped off. So the movie exists in the category of “meh”.  It’s not awful but its definitely not good by any means. Unless you are a devoted Horror enthusiast, avoid this movie and see one of the many excellent films currently in theaters.

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On Krampus

I like that make me feel scared. I understand that many people do not enjoy this feeling. The first time I watched a horror movie, I did not get the appeal. Why would I want to feel like something bad is about to happen? Over time you become used to this feeling and even start to enjoy it. “Horror” movies create feelings that other movies never evoke. For this reason, I believe that horror movies are special.

Krampus, is a film directed by Michael Dougherty and stars Adam Scott, Toni Collette, and David Koechner as family members trapped in a house on Christmas. What begins as a power outage morphs into a full-on siege by assorted satanic creatures lead by the titular Krampus. Krampus and his henchmen kill members of the family for being bad on Christmas.

Parts of this movie are a lot of fun. I found myself not caring that much about any of the characters. Except for the youngest child Max, Krampus kills at random. Many characters exist simply to be killed in a satisfying way. I’m not the biggest fan of the holidays, so I found some entertainment watching occult-inspired holiday monsters devouring right-wing macho hummer-drivers and obese bullies. The movie succeeds on this level. There is a pure joy in watching bad people being killed in interesting ways.

I find myself wishing that Krampus had taken more risks. Its violence operates in the PG-13 realm. More brutality would have given this movie an edge. People shoot guns constantly, but there is barely any blood or horrific bodily consequences. This lack of realistic violence soured soured the movie in my opinion.

Krampus is worth a watch for anyone who claims to be a horror fan. Don’t expect much gore but do expect some satisfaction at the expense of christmas spirit. This movie is worth the price of a matinee ticket and I would also reccommend seeing it on a large screen. Continue reading On Krampus