The Forest is deeply insensitive about its subject matter*, but it performs a clever sleight-of-hand in its writing to disguise its insensitivity by hiding it behind a racist depiction of Japan and its people. Most people would call this "compounding an error", but the writers** of The Forest probably call it "doubling down", which is a poker metaphor, on account of what they have done is basically a gamble - one which sadly does not pay off for either film makers or film watchers. The film is also based on nothing more than the fleeting notoriety of Aokigahara after viral videos circulated a few years back of decaying corpses discovered unattended within the forest bounds by hikers, so it starts with nothing, and then adds insensitivity and racism and hopes that's enough to support a film. So far as I can tell: not so much.
*Japan's Aokigahara Forest, described outside the country as "notorious" as a suicide spot, but inside Japan is thought of in much the same way we in the UK might think of Erskine Bridge or Beachy Head. By comparison, the London Underground sees twice as many suicides each year as Aokigahara does, and reports considerably more well-documented hauntings - one can only wonder why it doesn't also have its own horror film where superstitious locals warn of terrible danger awaiting white Americans who dare venture to such a cursed place.
**It took three whole people to write this racist horseshit.
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