Its 12:29 pm
It had been a while since we last got any goodies from our friends from Wild Eye Releasing. I was afraid that maybe they had gotten swallowed by the Polar Vortex and was about to mount a rescue mission when suddenly a box showed up on our door step.
Inside contained some new films and a model of a Yeti’s footprint. I think this was a message that we needed to review a film…..yesterday!
The first film we decided to look at was a horror entry from Portugal. Now as you know (or not) we have been blessed with some awesome foreign films as late….great films from Spain,Great Britain,The Netherlands,Argentina and Ireland have been viewed and enjoyed. “Forest of the Lost Souls” would be our first film from Portugal…
The film opens up with a young woman (Lilia Lopes) entering a forest,she is lightly dressed and it appears she is waiting for someone. We see her walking and pulling short down a pathway as she sees a dead body.
We then see the same young lady approach a lake where as she puts down her purse and leaves her shoes. She walks to shore and looks over the water,finally she drinks something out of a bottle and walks into water. She stands there touching the water before passing out and falling…she drowns and the main credits roll.
We then see Ricardo (Jorge Mota) as he pulls up in the same forest,he is a older man and has a weary look on his face. He parks his car and grabs a backpack and proceeds into the forest.
After hiking a while,he stops at a large rock and pulls out a large knife. Suddenly he hears a woman’s voice,she is upset because of all the spots Ricardo could have picked,he picked the spot next to her. Ricardo looks up and sees that voice belongs to a young woman,maybe 20-21 years old. He is taken aback at seeing how a woman so young would want to kill herself.
The woman,Carolina (Daniela Love) chuffs back at Ricardo at how unprepared he is,using a knife,not writing a proper suicide note. The two start walking with Ricardo chiding Carolina for smoking at her age. As the two talk,Carolina takes Ricardo into the forest where they see dead bodies from other suicides. Ricardo is repulsed when he sees Carolina rob the corpses. Ricardo and Carolina reach the lake and we can see its at the same site where the other young woman killed herself. Ricardo says he is ready to die and asks Carolina stay with him,she agrees and even gives him poison….as Ricardo starts to fade,he shows Carolina a picture of his daughter and says that she had killed herself here a year ago. Carolina looks at the picture and says “Oh,Irene? She was a slut”. As Ricardo stares at Carolina in shock,she takes his knife and proceeds to murder him.
She then walks to Ricardo’s car and decides to see where it takes her……with some very unexpected results.
I have to admit,a angel of mercy roaming a suicide forest is a very different kind of story and despite its complete grimness,I liked “Forest” for about 35 minutes. The cinematography by Francisco Lobo results in one of the best looking films I have watched in a LONG time. Its one of many things that director Jose Pedro Lopes does right,another is the score. “Forest” features the most jarring and disturbing score I have heard since “It Follows” and that is courtesy of the talented Emanuel Gracio. Combining the score with the lush black and white look of the film,simply brilliant. I liked the idea Lopes filmed this in black and white as to show the difference between life and death and really,is there really a middle ground?
To his credit,while he has Ricardo questioning Carolina on why she wants to die so young,he only halfheartedly attempts to talk her out of it. There is no dramatic moment where he attempts to save her,he is more interested in his own journey,in fact he is rather selfish for asking her to stay with him as he dies. Who would ask a 21 year old that??? So Lopes’s script plays it straight and true.
His casting of Mota,one of Portugal’s biggest stars with the young Love is also perfect.The chemistry between the two is great…for a split second,despite knowing differently,you sort of have a bit of hope for the two as they bicker and cajole in the forest. Because of the ease that Ricardo and Carolina seem to have,it makes Carolina’s mercy killing all that more shocking….
Now you may have noticed that I said I liked “Forest” for 35 minutes….and that “Forest” has a 71 minute run time. Well that is because after Ricardo and Carolina’s dance is over,Lopes’s story then commits suicide itself by taking Carolina away from the forest and the film just becomes a plain old vanilla stalker film with no excitement or heart.
It is the 2nd half of this film that completely lost,with terrible acting,silly situations and lazy writing. While it damages “Forest”,the first half is still strong enough for us to recommend it and hope Lopes has enough story for a complete film next time.
“The Forest of the Lost Souls” is unrated but would be rated “R”. It has a very fast run time of 71 minutes and comes with a director’s commentary,a great short film called “St. John’s” which is 90 seconds of awesomeness along with other featurettes.
You can buy a copy of “Forests” by hiking to the website of Wild Eye Releasing.
The cheetah and I both give “The Forest of the Lost Souls” a thumbs/paw up but we know this could have been much better.
How do you feel about film stories concerning suicide? Drop a comment below and share your thoughts,we like to hear them…..