Much like the trailer for the film THE GALLOWS snuck up on me, the trailer for the upcoming horror film has somehow slipped completely under my radar for the last few weeks! Well, now that your Horror Chickk is all caught up, she’s here to give you the run down on this upcoming film.
It’s well known around the world that the Aokigahara Forest at the base of Mount Fuji in Japan is one of the most genuinely tragic and terrifying sites in the world. Though the forest is beautiful and filled with icy caverns that have become popular tourist attractions, the forest also has a dark history. In the past, it has often been associated with demons in Japanese mythology, as it has become infamous site for suicide victims, causing many to refer to it as the Suicide Forest or Sea of Trees. This is such a prevalent problem in the area that there are signs posted throughout the forest urging such suicidal visitors to think of their families and contact a suicide prevention association. When I first heard about this place, genuine chills ran down my spine; the fact that there is a place in the world where literally thousands of people have gone to die is both heart-wrenching and utterly frightening.
In the trailer, we can see that this is a supernatural thriller set in this legendary place. In the film, a young American woman, Sara (Natalie Dormer of GAME OF THRONES and THE HUNGER GAMES), goes in search of her twin sister, who has mysteriously disappeared. Despite everyone’s warnings to “stay on the path,” Sara enters the forest determined to discover the truth about her sister’s fate. The film is directed by Jason Zada and written by David S. Goyer, Nick Antosca, and Sarah Cornwell. When I look at this trailer, I am thrilled at the potential for a terrifying film, as well as feeling nostalgic for the early 2000s when American remakes of Japanese horror films were in their heyday. However, this trailer also has me concerned for a number of reasons. Though the trailer looks promising, the release date for this film is currently set in January, which historically speaking is the release month for lackluster horror films that couldn’t compete with the September and October releases. I’m also concerned about the Japanese backdrop of the film. At the risk of losing my credibility with horror fans, I’ll admit that I actually prefer the American remake of THE GRUDGE over the original Japanese JU-ON, but that doesn’t mean that I feel like Hollywood has done a great job overall with bringing Japanese stories and lore over to America. Even though the Aokigahara Forest sounds like one of the most terrifying places in the world (I’ve never been, though I love horror movies, I’ve seen enough of them to know I should stay as far away as possible from places I know are actually haunted), I can’t help but wonder if the filmmakers are at all concerned with actually representing Japanese lore and mythology in their film. Though I’m very excited to finally see Natalie Dormer in a leading role (because, let’s be honest, she’s been long overdue), I’m also very concerned about the rest of the cast. As I’ve mentioned in previous articles, I have a problem when Hollywood has an opportunity to make a film with inclusive casting and purposefully chooses not to go that route, especially when said film looks to dig into the mythology of a particular culture. Though the film takes place in Japan, it looks like the only characters that are Japanese are two people that look like they are just needed to provide exposition about the forest, both of whom will undoubtedly take a back seat to Aiden played by Taylor Kinney.
Though I feel like this film is going to have a lot of problems, I can’t help but admit that the trailer sends the same chills down my spine that I felt the first time I heard about Aokigahara. If the movie can provide half of the same chills as the trailer, then movie goers are in for a scary good time!
THE FOREST will be released in theaters on January 8th, 2016.
What did you think of the trailer? Do you think this movie has a lot of potential or do you share my concerns? Be sure to let us know @TheMovieChickk!
Want to check out some more Japanese ghost stories? Check out THE GRUDGE on Amazon.com!