• Name: Into the Forest
• Year: 2015
• Country: Canada
• Director: Patricia Rozema
• Main cast: Ellen Page, Evan Rachel Wood, Max Minghella
• Runtime: 101 minutes
• Production company: Rhombus Media, Bron Studios
Into The Forest takes place in an unspecified future. We know it’s the future because computers are projected onto sleek, glass screens and tablets are also made of glass. Our main characters live in a glass house located in the woods. The future is glass.
Few details are given about the “event” that wipes out power, leaving the two sisters and their father stranded in their forest cottage. Snippets are picked up over the news before the power goes out, and then later over a long wave radio, but nothing is agreed upon.
What follows is a slow building apocalypse that happens just out of eye sight. We’re stranded with the family as well, and when they do finally make a trip into town, we are stuck knowing as little as they do. It appears as if the world ended while they weren’t looking.
The effect that the director is hoping to achieve is an unsettling, horror of the unknown vibe. Rozema, whose past directorial roles include Mansfield Park (1999) and a few episodes of TV shows, has the advantage here of not being a horror director. She’s able to stage and film scenes that are unusual for the genre, and I’m a sucker for the unfamiliar eye this lends. Unfortunately, sloppy writing and a jarring soundtrack overwhelm the intended soft angle, and the creeping effect is lost in the confusion.
Page and Wood are talented, and watching them work together (and sometimes against one another) as sisters made for some of the most enjoyable scenes in the movie. The merit of these actresses is seen in how they carry an otherwise unimpressive and, frankly, boring movie.
The story claims to be about two sisters struggling to survive, but there is very little actual struggle. Some shots of the two digging out the last of the jelly or eating stale bread are meant to show that the fight is just about to begin. Only it never really comes. Anything the sisters attempt to do to last a few more weeks – gathering and preserving food, hunting and skinning animals – is perfectly accomplished on the very first try.
So then what are they struggling to survive against, exactly? Well, now the movies takes a turn for the worst.
Before I began, I was hesitant because it was a film about two women set during the apocalypse. That is, there is always a certain… plot device, shall we say, these type of movies rely on. Something over (and poorly) used in horror as a whole.
My suspicions were confirmed when, almost exactly one hour into the movie, one of the sisters is sexually assaulted. The scene is graphic, lasts too long, and I will admit that it left a sour taste in my mouth for the remaining 40 minutes of the film. The assault was meant to add Suffering Points™ without any actual character or plot development, and the “struggles” that follows is equally boorish.
Slow pacing, bad writing, and an old and boring take on a tried and true theme, make Into the Forest something to AVOID.
IMDB URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2625810
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