I remember seeing the trailer for this movie and getting really excited. It looked to have mystery and I knew there would be jump scares. Because in today’s modern horror/thriller films, they were expected. Part of my excitement was due to the fact that the story was taking place in real creepy and morbid location.
The film takes place in Japan, mainly in Aokigahara, also known as Suicide Forest, at the base of Mount Fuji. If you just google this place you find out that hundreds, if not thousands of lost souls have gone here to die. One can imagine the chill in the air that surrounds the area. The forest itself is small, at 14 miles. However, it is said that the environment can be treacherous. There is dense vegetation, uneven forest floors and even caves/caverns that you can fall and injure yourself in. The forest is not easy to navigate so you can become easily lost. What makes that situation worse is that GPS devices, phones and even compasses tend not to work in the forest. So you really do have to know your way or…your purpose.
So on the location alone, the movie is great in showing casing its history and the beauty of it. The lead of the film is played by Natalie Dormer (Game of Thrones; Hunger Games). She carries the film well, having you sympathize with her and the situation she is facing, however, you do question some of her choices on multiple occasions throughout the film. The script/story for the most part is realistic but then it takes a weird turn. Without going into spoiler details, let’s just say that this movie went with the pattern that most horror/thriller movies are running with these days. That would be the whole, what is unseen, the hidden meaning/message is there. You’re supposed to learn something from it. The underlying message that the movie is trying to relay conflicts with the flow of the first half of the movie.
It’s like the movie starts with a good old-fashioned story line and then halfway through it feels like the writers decided to change it into a different movie. If they had stayed the course with their original idea, I’m sure it would’ve been a film to rival The Conjuring and the Insidious films. The feel of the film is pretty creepy in the first half of the film. When it gets near the middle or just past the middle, the story starts losing me a bit. The film is no longer as traditionally creepy because you now know there’s some other agenda. It’s not just cut and dry like you want it to be.
Considering the story, the acting and the feel, I would give this film a 5/10. I was really hopeful for more, but did not get what I felt was promised to me by the film’s trailer. I would still encourage people to see it, to see if they agree with me.