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Title: Into the Forest

Movie: :3stars:
Video: :4stars:
Audio: :4stars:
Extras: :2stars:

HTS Overall Score:72

I wasn’t really sure what to expect of “Into the Forest” when I saw that it was being made into a movie. The same named book was intriguing, but a very slow burn that was more “slice of life” post-apocalyptic, and I was a little curious how it would actually translate into film. Well, some fears were realized, and some were laid to rest as “Into the Forest” is a solidly done film that IS a slow burn like the novel. A feature that is both true to the source, but also a weakness in film form due to the sluggish nature of the storytelling. I won’t say that “Into the Forest” is a BAD movie, but the intensity and meaning behind the novel seems to be lost in the translation, leaving us with excellent performances by all. However the actual execution and ending leaves the viewer feeling just a little bit hollow and bored.

Set in the near future, “Into the Forest” tells a tale of survival in a world that is nearing the end of civilization. In the film not much is known about the WHY, but the U.S.’s power is shut down overnight after some catastrophic failure. People are left in the literal dark without any help from the outside world as the ENTIRE infrastructure is completely fried. Rumors abound and hope is that the power will come back on soon, but that is something that soon fizzles into fear when nothing happens. A father (Callum Keith Rennie) and his two daughters Eva and Nell (Evan Rachel Wood and Ellen Paige) have to make do out in their remote home in the woods until they can figure out what to do. The struggle to survive is a bit harder than they expected, being that electricity is pretty much the lifeblood of modern society, and that struggle is about to get worse when daddy dearest is killed in a freak accident.

Now the two sisters are left on their own and have to fend for themselves. While banding together against strangers, ex-lovers and creepy stalkers from town is hard enough, the girls have to learn to live with each other in a world that now doesn’t allow you to alienate yourselves in the wonders of technology. What was originally thought of as a short little blip on the radar, in regards to the power outage, turns out to be something so much worse and requires people to go back to their fight or flight instincts in order to survive.

The pulsing beat of “Into the Forest” is the relationship between the two sisters. Come what may and come what may not, the whole story revolves around the two of them learning to survive each other and WITH each other. Much like the book, it is a slow building and slow burning story that is almost a labor in and of itself. I really enjoyed the performances of Evan and Ellen, with both of their very different personalities trying to coexist in a stressful environment. Nell is very much the practical one, while Eva is the more artistic one who needs her dancing and her music to stay sane, but each one brings a strength to the survival game, but sadly I just want drawn into the story as much as I had hoped I would be.

The main attraction of the novel was the bleak setting and the slow burning buildup for the rest of the story including the sadly over rated ending that the book had. Unfortunately with only 1 hour and 41 minutes including trailers there just wasn’t enough time to build up the emotional intensity and keep the same slow burning approach. Thus the slow burn left out way too much information and shot between scenes a bit quickly, leaving the viewer with a feeling of being unsatisfied with the way things turned out. Personally I enjoyed the potential the movie had, and it made for a solid one time watch, but the rewatchability of the film is sorely lacking.


Rated R for a scene of violence, language and some sexuality/nudity

Video :4stars:
“Into the Forest” comes to Blu-ray with a very nice looking 1.85:1 AVC encoded transfer that is luxurious to behold in the forest itself. Colors are lightly cool, but still vibrant and richly saturated with forest greens and earthy browns. The house itself is shrouded in darkness most of the time and looks a bit more subdued in the color department, but still shows more than enough detail to get by. Fine detailing outside is magnificent, with the cool lit forest showing many a nice intimate level of detailing from the rocks in the dirt where Nell is foraging, or the little crevices and cracks in the trees surrounding the house. The black levels are usually very good, but the one big flaw in the movie is the rather large amount of banding that comes into the low light scenes. Without that I would have easily rated it a 4.5/5.

Audio :4stars:
The 5.1 DTS-HD MA track is equally as impressive and shows off a very dynamic use of the surrounds in a film that I assumed was going to be mainly dialog driven. Sure the dialog plays a major part in the film, perhaps the most important, but the surrounds are used quite frequently with the sounds of the forest leaves crunching underfoot, or the little cracks and pops of a fire snapping in the background. LFE is used in an effective manner, mainly as a support for the score or to compliment things such as the beams in the ceiling crashing down, or the jeep door slamming shut. It’s a very effective track that captures the ambiance and beauty of living out in the wilds, and while it isn’t an explosive track, it does the job very well in a very nuanced manner.

Extras :2stars:

• The Making of Into the Forest" Featurette
• Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Patricia Rozema

Overall: :3.5stars:

Based on the novel of the same name by Jean Hegland, “Into the Forest” is a very well acted story that sadly struggles to make any resounding impact on the viewer. Well, besides the excellent acting and chemistry between the two leads. I REALLY wanted to like “Into the Forest” more than I did, but it was just too sluggish to fully enjoy and the ending was always a weak spot in the book, and one that feels just as weak on screen. The video and audio are excellent, but once again the extras are a bit light. Still worth a solid rental in my opinion.

Additional Information:

Starring: Ellen Paige, Max Minghella, Evan Rachel Wood
Directed by: Patricia Rozema
Written by: Patricia Rozema
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1
Studio: Lionsgate
Rated: R
Runtime: 101 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: October 4th 2016

Buy Into the Forest On Blu-ray at Amazon

Recommendation: Rental

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