Thursday, October 17, 2013

31 Days of Halloween 2013 - Day 17

The Forest
Don Jones

The film opens with a man and woman being stalked through the woods and killed by an unseen assailant. Steve (Dean Russell) and Sharon (Tomi Barrett) are a married couple who are not getting along. Steve and his friend, Charlie (John Batis), decide they are going to go camping without their wives, since they are females and obviously couldn’t handle roughing it.  This of course doesn’t sit well with Sharon and Teddi (Ann Wilkinson), so they decide to go without the guys, who they tell to meet them at the campsite later that evening. The men leave almost immediately after the women, and they all end up getting lost in the woods and stalked by a cannibal, or a ghost, or a cannibal ghost (is that a thing?)

The Forest is an exceptionally unique approach to the slasher genre. It retains the most basic elements of the genre:  a mysterious knife wielding figure killing off characters one by one in the woods, but forgoes the teens, the sexuality, and the hardline moralistic universe most slashers inhabit (i.e. If you have sex/get drunk/do drugs, you die .) The Forest scores points by having its most unsettling scene take place while people are having a conversation and enjoying some…meat. This is by no means a perfect movie, it’s amateurishly shot, and the bizarre upbeat  synthesizer score is very out of place. Thanks to some production problems it is edited haphazardly, many scenes don't make a lot of sense together, it could enhance the weirdness but mostly it's just confusing. I found it easy to overlook these flaws, simply because of interesting variations on the slasher film that The Forest brings to the table.

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