Let’s make a film in an afternoon.
Into the Forest (not the apocalyptic one with Ellen Page) is a new cheap indie-horror on Prime that I decided to give a shot, so you don’t have to.
Honestly, I think most of this film was done on the “only do the take once” philosophy of storytelling. We follow a group of idiots as they go to Rudwick Forest, which is supposedly haunted.
The film opens with a bunch of deadpan people talking about people who went missing in the forest and introduced to our main characters at the same time. Honestly, I couldn’t really tell who was who, and our trio of heroes are basically interchangeable. We have the grumpy balding one, the gal, and the bro. (Their photos aren’t on IMDB and I can’t remember their names).
Our lead, Bro (let’s just call him that) seems to be channeling his best Logan Paul impression (meaning he is objectively unlikable) throughout. The whole thing smacks of youtube personalities, including calling the viewers “believers.” In a sane universe I’d say this is a pipedream of the type of people who would make it on a ghost hunting show, but the existence of Ghost Adventures not only proves me wrong, but also serves as proof that all life is pain.
In a sister universe where The Blair Witch did not exist and we as an audience weren’t exhausted of both unlikable people in horror and found footage you might be tricked into thinking this is a competent film. However, since we are all sick of these things (and have seen this film done better) this feels too derivative to be anything too enjoyable.
To be fair, this does a good job mimicking ghost hunting shows—complete with a lengthy investigative portion before actually getting into the forest. Fans of this genre will see a lot to like here. The filming looks fine (albeit it is victim to all the known issues with found footage), and the characters are believable (although I wasn’t keen on their personalities).
This is a microbudget horror film people made out of passion for the genre. A lot of issues can be overlooked due to this, but we do have some serious deficits in the storytelling here. Bro tends to smile when asking people about their missing children, or haunted encounters they have had in the forest. While I suppose this could be a personality trait, but I highly doubt anyone would sign on a crew that seems to be mocking what they are researching.
The film also fails in the scare department. It is simply too derivative to offer up anything unseen before. Further, due to how many of these types of films there are we can see everything coming even when they are trying to be sneaky.
Perhaps worst, is that the film doesn’t hold its own story together as tightly as it needs to. We have a haunted forest, spooky kids, weird people, and a witch—none of these are followed through to the end. The lack of tightness in the story was probably done to increase the idea of the lore, but all it does is mire the film in mediocrity. Worth skipping.