Saturday, October 13, 2018

The Forest of the Lost Souls blu-ray + Extras (2017: Wild Eye Releasing)

It's nice to be back with a new Saturday Screamers!  Today's film comes to us from our friends over at Wild Eye Productions.  They brought this film to the U.S. as well as hooked us up with a copy.  So thank you to them for this blu-ray!

They watched too much Daria.
Taking influence from the infamous Japanese suicide forest, the Aokigahara, The Forest of the Lost Souls places itself in Europe where a man is looking for his own patch in the woods to end his life.  While he begins to set out his personal artifacts a college age woman tells him she has already claimed the spot.  The two begin to talk and strike up a morbid acquaintanceship which eventually leads to a lake on the forest edge.  It's here that we find that the woman is really a killer.  I'm not spoiling anything as she's on the cover of the case holding a bloody knife.  We knew this was coming.  It's the fact that we find out the entire conversation was meant for her to learn about his life in order to extend her murderous intentions to those connected to him.

The Forest of the Lost Souls initially feels like it's an "artsy" film.  I use that word in quotes because there's an unpleasant tinge to it, like tasting copper on your tongue.  Around the 15-minute mark I was concerned that this film just wasn't going to be for me.  Thankfully I pressed on and the second half of The Forest... does such a great job of giving the viewer that sense of suspense and dread up until the third act hits and everything comes together.  The director knows exactly how to surprise you, at the right moments, with imagery in the background and holding it just long enough that you feel that anxious flutter in your stomach.

This movie also gave me one of the weirdest self psychological moments when the time came for me to do this write up.  The entirety of The Forest of the Lost Souls is in black and white, but for some reason I recall the latter parts of the film in color.  I actually had to put the disc back in and scene skip in order to see if I was right or wrong.  Sure enough, my memory was wrong.  I've never experienced this but I chalk it up to the set designers, costumers, and director for doing such a good job with establishing the house that I can, for lack of a better term, feel the color there.

I also want to give some love to the fact that this is one of the first films that I've seen where we get a killer spending the time to establish an alibi.  Taking selfies, making phone calls saying you didn't have service while you were somewhere the night before, going through all of this effort... it's something we don't get with a lot of horror.  Our monsters tend to be supernatural or have these character flaws that lead to them being pursued, jailed, or killed.  They're not so calculating and sociopathic as to do this extra work or, if they are, we aren't privy to those scenes.  So thank you to The Forest of the Lost Souls for having this.


Extras are slim on this as it is just an initial release.  We have two deleted scenes with director's commentary.  I really appreciate that input because these scenes were cut because they didn't fit what became the tone of the film.  Without being told that these scenes would feel confusing as to why they even filmed them at all.  We also get a short film based on a holiday in Portugal where people hit each other with squeaky hammers as a greeting.  I liked this short except I think it would've worked much better without the final shot.  Finally there is a commentary track which I would like to listen to the next time I watch this film and also a fight rehearsal which I didn't watch and may revisit.


If you are someone that doesn't like subtitles (this film is in Portuguese), black and white films, or artistically done films, this might not be your thing.  On the flip side, if you don't mind any of that and want to take a break from all of the slashers, torture porn, and b-movie bloodbaths then give The Forest of the Lost Souls a try.  I may not pull this out as an option at every movie night, but when I'm with the right group of people I wouldn't definitely pull a "hey, have you seen this" and put it on.

Thanks again to Wild Eye Productions for the hook-up!

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