On DVD & Blu-Ray: April 12, 2016

I've never seen an episode of Game of Thrones. I'm not even sure I could tell you why so many people love it or what the basic premise is. The reason I tell you I'm not familiar with this pop culture phenomenon is because it's inevitable the star of The Forest will garner much good will for her leading lady debut due simply to the fact she's a seemingly well-respected character on that hit TV show. Because I only recognize Natalie Dormer from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay films I have no frame of reference with which to know what I should or shouldn't have been expecting from this January horror release. Generally, studios tend to dump their scrap pile on audiences in the month following the barrage of Oscar hopefuls that they (the studios) hope will continue to earn money throughout awards season while simultaneously clearing their shelves of any long-gestating projects that simply need somewhere to die. In this sense, January is more or less a graveyard of long lost B-movies that will make a few bucks and then disappear after a single weekend never to be heard from again. Here we are with the studio attempting to pull a few more bucks out of one of those releases. It seemed pointless at the time to even write a review for something like The Forest as I assumed it would be dismissed and then buried beneath the rest of January's dull releases to the point that by today as it arrives on DVD and Blu-ray most people wouldn't even remember it came out in 2016. And yet, it is the only major home video release this week so it's what we're talking about. Still, I was hopeful that the seemingly buzzy Dormer would make good on her promise of being a performer of integrity and buck the trend of January horror films to deliver something both psychologically disturbing and legitimately scary at the same time. Instead, The Forest is one of those horror movies that feels as if it was pieced together by a creative team that's only watched a few bad horror flicks and still decided they knew well enough what they were doing to take their own crack at it. Relying solely on cheap jump scares and a supposed twist ending that were clearly meant to have audiences reeling, The Forest will leave you dumbfounded that you're expected to be impressed. Full review here. D-

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