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The Forest | 2016 | PG-13 | - 1.6.3

Learning that her twin sister vanished in Japan, an American (Natalie Dormer) travels to Mount Fuji's infamous Aokigahara Forest, where the anguished go to commit suicide, and with a new friend (Taylor Kinney) she explores the forest, ignoring instructions to leave before sunset. Also with Eoin Macken, Stephanie Vogt, Yukiyoshi Ozawa, Rina Takasaki, Noriko Sakura, Yûho Yamashita and James Owen. Directed by Jason Zada. Several lines of dialogue are in Japanese and most are translated. [1:35]

SEX/NUDITY 1 - A woman wears skin-tight jeans with tops that reveal cleavage. A woman wearing a scoop-neck top bends toward the camera and displays substantial cleavage.
 A husband kisses his wife on the forehead. A man hugs a woman. A woman hugs a man. A man holds a woman's hand briefly, but she walks away, because she is married to someone else.

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VIOLENCE/GORE 6 - A man and a woman struggle over a knife, until he lands on top of her on the floor with the knife stuck in his heart; he rolls over, grabs his chest and blood flows as he gurgles and dies with open eyes.
 A man and a woman argue, she accuses him of wanting to kill her, and he becomes exasperated; she finds a locked door and a note slides out from under it that tells her the man will kill her so she finds a knife, sticks it against the man's throat and says she will kill him and he shouts, "Wake up! Your sister's been dead for five days!" A woman walks through a door and finds her childhood basement with her dead parents lying on the floor, she grabs her twin who is now a little girl and tells her not to look this time as the father revives and attacks the first woman, grabbing her bandaged and bleeding hand; she uses a knife to cut his fingers away from her arm and the scene ends (we see blood on her arms, hands, and some blood spots on her T-shirt). A woman seated on the ground in the woods is pulled under the ground by six human hands as she screams.
 A male zombie face covered with stripes of black gore slams against the lens of a View Finder and the woman looking through it screams and drops the viewer, finding no one else there. In a dimly lit hostel corridor a woman is accosted by an elderly, wrinkled, blind woman with milky eyes; the first woman screams and pants in fear as a younger woman takes the old woman away. A woman outside a forest at night looks into it, saying that she feels nothing of her twin sister and a trail guide appears frightened as he looks into the woods; a pale, gore-covered zombie-like image of a woman's snarling face rushes at the screen and vanishes. Three elderly women rush at a younger woman at night in a dark forest and we see a close-up of a wrinkled, screaming face and hear a screech as it disappears with the other two crones. A man leads a woman to a room at the end of a long hall where we see the bodies of three people under sheets and one body begins to breathe; the woman pulls back the sheet and finds a grimy dead woman's face that is frozen in a snarl and the first woman gasps and says that this is not the woman she seeks. An elderly man with long hair slams his face and hands against the passenger window of a taxi, in which a woman sits and gasps; he then laughs and moves on. A woman accuses a man of trying to kill her (he has not done so), they argue, and she runs away through a forest; she falls into a pit and injures her ankle then struggles to stand and hobbles through a dark tunnel with a flashlight where she meets a teen girl that smiles insanely and leads her down another tunnel; the girl stops and as the flashlight reaches her face, we see a pale, round, zombie face covered in black vertical stripes of gore and the woman screams and runs back through the tunnels to an opening above her head and a man throws down a rope and pulls her up. A woman visits the school of her twin sister, who teaches there and is missing; teen girls scream in terror when they see the first woman, thinking she is one of the angry ghosts from the nearby Suicide Forest. A woman opens a tent and finds her twin as a little girl, her young face turning black and screeching to end the scene. A woman finds a tent and gets into it to sleep until a creaking wakens her and a hand presses down on her head from outside the tent as we see fingers in shadow and hear running feet; the awakened woman leaves the tent and confronts a grimy teen girl who takes her to help her (first woman's) twin sister. A skin-and-bone corpse stands in the distance among trees as a woman rushes past, but then it appears beside the woman and she says, "You're not real!" A woman and twin girls hear two loud thumps in the basement (in a flashback); they descend the stairs and one girl and the woman see the girl's dead mother lying on the floor, eyes open, with some spots of blood beside her and both witnesses scream into the camera and run upstairs. A flashback shows a man sitting against a wall, dead, with eyes open and some blood on his face. A woman falls, cutting her hand and we see a long cut on the palm with blood flowing; a male friend arrives and helps her to her tent, where she wraps the hand in a piece of cloth and the wound bleeds through it a little. A woman unwraps her bandaged hand and sees maggots in a wound on the palm; she sees them crawling up her arm inside the skin and points a knife blade at one, but they all disappear. A woman picks up a View Master from some dried leaves in a pit and looks at slides of herself and her twin sister on the day their parents died, including the ankles and feet of the parents on the basement floor. In a daytime scene we see a body in a long sleeved shirt and long trousers float down a river, face down and likely dead. A section of tree roots in a forest reaches out toward the camera like a many-fingered claw. A woman runs away from the camera through woods, panting and yelling for help; the camera cuts to the woman in bed, awakening from a dream. An ad for the Suicide Forest features a skin-and-bone corpse in a jacket and trousers, with its eyes sunken and covered with a thin black bag. A skin-and-bone figure hangs from a tree and a woman gasps loudly and turns away as a man cuts it down and lays it on the ground. A woman runs through a forest at night, panting and shouting for her twin sister while we see several human heads around her in the background; these beings chase the woman another woman hears the commotion and calls her name; the second woman escapes the woods and is shown in a police patrol car while the first woman is shown in the woods looking at her forearm, which is cut and bleeding.
 A woman receives a call from police that her sister is missing in the Suicide Forest in Japan and a missing person's report was filed. A woman states that in the old days when food was scarce, women, the blind and the ill were led into the woods and left to die. Two people state that one should not go into a forest when one is sad because ghosts there will use the sadness against them. A teen girl says that ghosts of the suicides in a forest come back very angry. A man says that people see and do very bad things in a forest, especially off the trail and at night; he says that people also see things that are not there in the woods. A woman says that a drunk driver ran into two people, knocking them into a basement and killing them, but we do not see the action. A guide in the Suicide Forest points out several colored ropes tied onto a series of trees, stating that suicides leave ropes to follow for workers to bring out the bodies later. Several scenes in the forest include off-screen sounds of human and animal screeching, branches cracking, animals roaring, and what seems to be large birds cackling. A woman tells a man that her twin sister attempted suicide twice (no details), but possibly only because the sister thought suicide to be romantic. A man says that his brother used to be beat up all the time at school, causing the first man to feel guilty. A woman says she can feel when something bad has happened to her twin sister. A woman tells her twin sister that their grandfather (his ashes) is in an Asian jar the second woman is holding and then laughs. A woman sits against a wall in a pit and repeats five times, "It's all in your head." A man gives a woman a large hunting knife for protection. At a sushi restaurant a large shrimp is served, cut in two on a plate; its tail and its feelers move around. In a forest scene a snail begins to crawl and small insects walk across leaves and fly around a tree. A man leads a woman to a small ranger station, where we see a rat run across a shelf.

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LANGUAGE 3 - 3 scatological terms, 2 mild obscenities, name-calling (crazy, caveman, foolish, strange man), 1 religious profanity (GD), 2 religious exclamations (Oh My God, Jesus).

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SUBSTANCE USE - A prescription bottle label on a night table reads, "Anxiety Medication," and another prescription bottle label is unreadable. A man and a woman drink from glasses of wine in close-up, a man and a woman are joined by another woman and all three have glasses of wine (they are not shown drinking), a woman holds a short glass at a bar where two long shelves on the back bar are filled with various colors of liquor, a man at a bar turns in an empty beer mug and receives a full mug that he sips from, a man and a woman drink from mugs of beer, and a woman holds a beer bottle in a photo and two additional photos show a beer bottle against a tree.

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DISCUSSION TOPICS - Suicide, death, grief, fear, hallucinations, danger, phobia of basements, determination, courage, trust, legends, superstitions, ghosts, communication between twins, women traveling alone in foreign countries.
MESSAGE - Rely on experienced professionals to find missing relatives.
CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.



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