After spending close to four seasons in the political cauldron that HBO calls Game of Thrones – not to mention toppling a tyrannical dictator in Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games franchise – Natalie Dormer would be forgiven for wanting to cleanse her palette with a breezy rom-com, but low and behold, the actress is filling her brief hiatus from the aforementioned fantasy juggernaut with The Forest, an upcoming low-key horror film centered around Japan’s infamous Aokigahara Forest.
Often referred to as the suicide forest or the Sea of Tress, Aokigahara has a long and storied history in Japanese folklore, and such an eerie lore is fertile ground for any filmmaker, including Jason Zada. He’s behind the lens for Dormer’s foray into the genre, telling the tale of a young American woman named Sara who ventures in to Aokigahara to find her missing sister. That’s despite the fact that The Forest has become something of an open graveyard through the course of time, and Sara’s mere presence is enough to disturb the dormant ghosts and ghouls that stalk the night.
Also starring Taylor Kinney, Sarah Cornwell and Nick Antosca, The Forest opens on January 8, 2016. That may not seem like an opportune time to open given Hollywood’s tendency to roll out shovelware after the turn of the year, but we’re harboring a sliver of hope for Dormer’s horror carving out an audience.
Rising with terrifying grandeur at the base of Mt. Fuji in Japan, the legendary real-life Aokigahara Forest is the suspense-filled setting of the supernatural thriller. A young American woman, Sara (Natalie Dormer of Game of Thrones and The Hunger Games), journeys there in search of her twin sister, who has mysteriously disappeared. In the company of expatriate Aiden (Taylor Kinney of Chicago Fire), Sara enters the forest having been well warned to “stay on the path.” Determined to discover the truth about her sister’s fate, Sara will have to face the angry and tormented souls of the dead that prey on anyone who dares come near them. These malevolent spirits lying in wait for Sara at every turn will plunge her into a frightening darkness from which she must fight to save herself.