Viewed – 02 July 2015 Online rental
Natalie Dormer (Game of Thrones, The Hunger Games) plays Sarah, a young woman whose twin sister has gone missing following a trip to Japan. She was last heard of heading to a famed forest where it is said people go to commit suicide. Fearing for her sister’s safety, Natalie quickly gets on the next flight.
A simple concept given some far eastern horror atmosphere due to the setting and plenty of Japanese superstition and ghost stories. It’s been a long time since I’ve watched a horror like this which clearly borrows from the Jap-horror scene that has mostly been abandoned in recent years. Memories of the American remakes to The Grudge and One Missed Call came to mind so I was starting to fear for another by the numbers horror … which this is to an extent but with a strong turn from Dormer who is increasingly becoming one of my go-to actresses, and plenty of tension in a strange and unfamiliar setting … I was suitably unnerved. A couple of decent scares help and the plight of Sarah’s sister, a friendly guy who may or may not be on the level and some creepy ‘what’s that in the forest’ moments made this good fun. The ending let’s things down a bit despite offering up an interesting turn of events … but I was left bewildered by some set ups that didn’t go anywhere (were the photos on the guy’s phone real or in Sarah’s head?). We’re also left knowing as much about the forest by the end as we did at the beginning. Frustrating considering the actual forest exists in real-life.
I’d still say give this a go however. It relies a bit on clichéd horror tropes to get by and fails to develop some of it’s more interesting ideas … but for 90+ minutes it’s fun, scary and creepy and sometimes that’s enough.
Verdict: 3 /5