Review – Into the Forest (2016)

While these two young women do go into the forest, and do go through the woods, they never end up a grandmother’s house, which oddly disappoints me. All jokes aside, Into the Forest was a film that interested me enough to check it out, even though I was only cautiously optimistic in the long-term. Tonally, the trailers do a great job showing you that the movie is going to feel authentic when it comes to post-apocalyptic, but it didn’t even attempt to clue the audience in on a story. So, with fingers crossed, let’s take a look at Into the Forest.

After a massive power outage, two sisters learn to survive on their own in their isolated woodland home.

IMDb

As with what was feared with the trailer, Into the Forest has no real story to speak of. While there is an imbalance that everyone in the film feels, there’s not really a literary protagonist, since nobody is actually actively trying to resolve this crisis. Everybody that we physically see is a “be-er”, a character that adapts to their surroundings, and as such, don’t have tremendous growth as people. In a way, the girls have to learn to live in a world without electricity, but that’s something they do in the first 10-15 minutes or so. It’s not something they really fight against until the end. Without a story goal, this relatively short film feels like it has no end in sight, that it can go anywhere, and the audience has no sense of finality when watching. It can end 20 minutes in, and it can end 5 hours later, who knows? By the time the movie actually ends, you may feel the impulse to check how many gray hairs you’ve sprouted while watching.

Then again, the story was never really a strong focus of the film. It’s hard to say the film failed in an aspect where they weren’t ever really trying to succeed in. Instead, this is more of a film focusing on tone and feel. It’s essentially a subtle “artsy-fartsy” movie. It wanted to stray away from the tropes of other movies like it that would explain what caused the problem at hand, and wanted to be more realistic in how the average human mind would perceive it. People in this situation wouldn’t know what happened, they’d just have to learn to live without power. To be honest, the film succeeds where it wanted to succeed. It feels authentic in its post-apocalyptic stance, and as a plus, you feel for these characters.

Without Ellen Page and Evan Rachel Wood, I feel like this film would be lost and forgotten. These actresses carry the film brilliantly. Their emotions are real and their chemistry is believable. If the world ends, I could almost see these two actresses finding one another to survive since they were able to successfully do it in a movie once. Ellen Page is so good in this film, that there was a very upsetting and very real scene involving an animal that made me think about DiCaprio’s disgusting scene in The Revenant. Well…maybe not as disgusting, but I was sitting here thinking That looked…real throughout, and it turns out it was. Did Ellen Page have to do that? NO! But the fact that she did made it that much more authentic.

Overall, I’d say the movie did what it set out to do with very good acting and an authentic feeling that the world has permanently changed forever, but the fact that the film has no real narrative made a relatively short film feel extremely long and boring, which doesn’t help the rewatchability factor. Technical aspects in a film are really great, but you need to focus on story, too, or else you risk the audience’s entertainment.

TOTAL SCORE – 59%

Current 2016 Rankings:
Overall: 31st Place out of 100 Movies
(In a Tie with Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday)
Drama: 18th Place out of 25 Movies
Sci-Fi: Last Place out of 20 Movies

Other Horror/Sci-Fi Movies Rated 59%:
Time Freak
Oculus
Amber Alert
Leaving D.C.
The Reaping
Alien 3
Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood
Manhunter

Specs:
PEOPLE SCORE (13/20)
Acting (4/4) | Characters (2/4) | Casting (3/4) | Importance (0/4) | Chemistry (4/4)
WRITING SCORE (4/10)
Dialogue (1/2) | Balance (0/2) | Story Depth (1/2) | Originality (1/2) | Concept (1/2)
BEHIND-THE-SCENES SCORE (6/10)
Visuals (1/2) | Cinematography (1/2) | Editing (1/2) | Advertising (2/2) | Music & Sound (1/2)
NARRATIVE ARC SCORE (5/10)
Introduction (2/2) | Inciting Incident (2/2) | Obstacles (0/2) | Climax (1/2) | Resolution (0/2)
ENTERTAINMENT SCORE (1/10)
Rewatchability (0/2) | Fun Experience (1/2) | Impulse to Buy or Own (0/2) | Impulse to Talk About or Recommend (0/2) | Engaging & Riveting (0/2)
SPECIALTY SCORE (30/40)
Ellen Page (5/10) | Concept (5/10) | Drama (10/10) | Halfway Decent (10/10)

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