INTO THE FOREST – found footage review

I do have to admit that I can appreciate found footage films that loved the BLAIR WITCH PROJECT as much as I do and I can understand why you’d want to ape that film but for the love of Pete, can we STOP just trying to remake the darned movie. Oh, sure they throw in their own little ingredients to the tried and true recipe but at this point, it’s a classic film, meaning it’s old, meaning that a hundred other people aped it, ripped it off, and parodied it. 

So let’s stop. 

Can we?

Unless you are adding to that franchise why don’t you come up with some other thing and not another witch in the woods. 

It’s lazy. 

Ya know what though, you COULD take those bones and put new meat on them. You could even do the same darned idea and make your own way. It’s not an easy way to go and will put a big target on you but you can do it and still create something exciting and engaging. 

Alas, this is where we come to INTO THE FOREST, the latest film to walk into the woods, or forest, never to return. They add their own twist…but it’s one that’s also already been done to death. 

INTO THE FOREST follows a social media personality looking for fame (another one) by investigating the paranormal with his psychic sister and her partner. The trio have garnered interest from a cable network and just need to sign the paperwork before they are rocketed towards fame. In order to prepare for this leap they set their sights on a small town with a forest that has a history. It’s said that a murderous woman disappeared in there and since others have disappeared as well. They hope to get some sort of sign that there is a dark spirit in the forest, in this case, the witch. The three rent a cabin at the edge of the forest as a base camp for their investigation and immediately hear noises in the night. What seems as if it may be horrifying though turns out to just be the drunken lout relative of the man who rented them the cabin. He insists that they leave the cabin and the woods. They don’t belong there. They laugh it off and make plans to interview one of the people who lost a loved one in the woods. This man lost his daughter and when they get shown where she disappeared they later discover that her voice is on the video, calling out for help. The next day they head out to the same spot to camp and, they hope, to capture evidence of the girl, or the witch. What they don’t realize is the kind of danger they may be putting themselves in. 

This is a by the numbers movie. It’s well shot, it’s decently acted, and it finds reasons to film. We aren’t shown though WHY the security camera footage from the cabin turns up in the film. We aren’t given a WHY we care about these people in the form of a title card. We are barely given any sort of myth about the forest or the woman. We’re just given a – crazy lady disappeared in the woods and now people disappear, wooo! – and that’s it. The really frustrating thing was that they throw in ambient music at the end that has no place or reason to be in the film if it’s ‘found’. 

At least follow the rules!

There is no chemistry with the actors and the conflicts feel painfully forced and unnecessary. 

I take NO pleasure in banging on this movie because I know how hard it is to make a film and how little you can benefit from it if it doesn’t catch on. I get it. I applaud their passions and will to make the movie. I just wish it had taken the time to make us care about what’s happening. It’s of a length that they could have done a LOT more establishing of the myth via more interviews and could have give us more about the three people so we cared about them more and about their quest for fame and the ‘truth’ about these hauntings. The climax made no sense and felt rushed and obvious. We have all seen the same movies so give us something new. Give us something that surprises us. 

There are a LOT of found footage movies out there. If you’ve got an itch, this is not too long, is well made, and is watchable. There are lots of worse films out there. Sadly this is unmemorable though and if you have seen a handful of found footage you have probably seen what this one is trying to do. The addition of the low-level social media celeb is interesting but wasted. 

There was a much better film here but it wasn’t given a chance to come out of those haunted woods. 

1.5 out of 5

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