The Forest (2016)

The Forest
Director: Jason Zada
Writer: Nick Antosca, Sarah Cornwell, Ben Ketai
Cast: Natalie Dormer, Taylor Kinney, Yukiyoshi Ozawa, Eoin Macken, Rina Takasaki
Seen on: 18.8.2021

Content Note: suicide, racism

Sara’s (Natalie Dormer) twin sister Jess (Natalie Dormer) has disappeared in Japan. Everyone seems to assume that she is dead as she was last seen in Aokigahara forest, a spot known for people to go to kill themselves. But Sara is convinced that Jess isn’t dead, just lost. So she goes to Japan to find her. She meets journalist Aiden (Taylor Kinney) who is about to write about Aokigahara and invites her to join his exploration with local guide Michi (Yukiyoshi Ozawa), if she lets him use her story. Sara agrees. As they head into the forest, they soon realize that there is more to it than they thought at first.

Sometimes I want to kick myself for my memory and for my tendency to not read much about films before seeing them. If my memory had been better, I would have remembered why I hadn’t watched The Forest before, and if I had read more about it, I probably would have remembered better or realized anew. Because The Forest is one fucking racist mess and it isn’t even subtle or debatable. It’s just really, really racist. And even apart from that, it’s not particularly good.

The film poster showing Sara's (Natalie Dormer) face, the lower half dissolving into a series of nooses below a line of trees.
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The Hole in the Ground (2019)

The Hole in the Ground
Director: Lee Cronin
Writer: Lee Cronin, Stephen Shields
Cast: Seána Kerslake, James Quinn Markey, Kati Outinen, David Crowley, Simone Kirby, Steve Wall, Eoin Macken, James Cosmo
Part of: /slash Filmfestival 1/2
Seen on: 5.5.2019

Sarah (Seána Kerslake) and her son Chris (James Quinn Markey) move to the countryside for a fresh start. But their remote home becomes less of a refuge for them and more of a constant source of paranoia for Sarah when Christ starts to act stranger and stranger. His behavior seems somehow connected to the sinkhole in the woods behind their house and Sarah is soon convinced that more is going on than just a difficult transition into a new life.

The Hole in the Ground starts well enough and does have some creepy moments, but unfortunately the longer it goes on, the less it manages to keep the story together.

The film poster showing Chris (James Quinn Markey) with a spider crawling over his face.
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