Reviewed by: Andre Manseau
Sevy Di Cione
What's it about
A photographer's film reveals a picture of an old tree. A young man named Sean recognized this tree from an old notebook given to him by his Native American grandfather. A legend follows this picture- a burial ground is beneath the tree, and is filled with treasure. Of course all of this comes with a price- the treasure is protected by Satinka, an evil little girl who wreaks havoc on all those who enter her forest. Of course, people make their way to the forest, only to be killed off one by one.
Is it good movie?
Haunted Forest is another example of an American studio taking a sort of J-Horror approach to filmmaking and porting it over to our waters. And to some extent, it works. In fact, I'd go so far as to say it was better than average, with even a mild recommendation. Read on, true believers.
First, we'll go with the bad. As is often the case, Haunted Forest sports some pretty lame characters, to say the least. See, this one has a couple of plots- the main plot involves Sean and his buddies, who have somehow obtained this photo and are in the woods searching for the tree. The other plot involves Jennifer and Kiyomi, who are in the forest, looking for wild flowers. Now this is all well and good, unfortunately, this is nearly all we know about these people. We don't know why or how, all we know is the 'now', which doesn't help much at all. And what was with the pink headband?
Now as for the good, you'll find that Haunted Forest weaves a rich visual tapestry and relies a lot on the imagery it creates. Satinka is crafted well, although once again you find an Asian (although she's supposed to be Native?) girl in a white dress looking creepy with long black hair. The forest itself is quite a wonder, with the haunted tree providing some great chills. Oddly enough, you'll end up learning more about Satinka than you do about the other characters.
There are plenty of jump scares to be found in this one, so if you love 'em or hate 'em, look out, because they're well crafted and even got me a few times. It does drag a bit and the ending leaves a lot to be desired, but still, I'd recommend a trip through this forest.
Video / Audio
Video comes in 16x9 widescreen and looks crisp and clean, like most of LionsGate releases.
Audio is Dolby 5.1, and is booming, top notch stuff. I was impressed.
If you call trailers extras, then you'll be thrilled with these. The Abandoned, The Tomb, Reincarnation and The Lost Room, as well as a promo for Fear Net.
At the end of the day, Haunted Forest is a decently made thriller with a few good scares for good measure. It isn't groundbreaking, but the visuals won me over. I recommend it if you've got nothing to do or are scared easily, or need to watch a flick with a girl who fears gore.