If you've been stalking
the aisles of your local video store lately, it's entirely possible
that you've wandered past this title. And though you may think
"Japanese import", you'd be wrong. Though this time
around, you shouldn't let that stop you. Go ahead. Take a walk
through the "Haunted Forest".
And in "Haunted
Forest", what we've got to deal with is three guys going
into the titular haunted forest where a vengeful ghost named Satinka
waits to lure travelers to their likely deaths but generally just
disappearances. Someone else has just vanished, you see, and thus
the three guys want to figure out just what happened to him--whether
he just fell into a lake or a gully or pit or assorted hazard
of the forest or whether he ran into Satinka. If he ran into Satinka,
they realize, based on an old book one of them has inherited from
a grandfather, they will likely find a tree marking a burial ground
with, apparently, cash at the bottom. The trip, for numerous horror
movie reasons, will be highly dangerous and probably a bad idea.
With, of course, a body count.
Those of you who looked
at the box art and thought this was a Japanese import are not
alone. I thought much the same thing, and frankly, the farther
we get into "Haunted Forest", the more it looks, feels,
and watches like a Japanese import.
Sure, it's a little
flimsy in the plot department--a ghost who haunts the woods and
kills by slipping a twig under the skin?--but despite that weak
little premise, "Haunted Forest" actually manages to
keep things moving at a halfway decent pace and in a fairly stylish
manner. It may not be an Oscar contender--may not even be terribly
deep--but it doesn't look or feel cheap. It's actually not half
Though the plot is
a bit flimsy, it's executed very, very well. It really does have
the look and feel of a Japanese import, with all the positives
that term can muster. Lots of quick appearances of our ghost Satinka,
lots of strange things that pop up out of nowhere and vanish almost
before they even register in your brain, all those wonderful things
and more that make Japanese horror rank among the best on the
The ending, meanwhile,
is more than a little far-fetched, but doesn't diminish too badly
from the events preceding it.
The special features
include audio options, English and Spanish subtitles, and trailers
for "The Abandoned", "H.P. Lovecraft's The Tomb",
"Reincarnation", and "The Lost Room."
All in all, "Haunted
Forest" isn't a half-bad entry into the wide array of horror
choices we have to choose from these days. You could do wildly
worse, and frankly, you'll be hard-pressed to find much better.
Directed by Mauro Borrelli
Written by Mauro Borrelli
Starring Sevy Di Cione, Adam Green, Mark Hengst, Naomi Ueno
Produced by Mauro Borrelli
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