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Since screenwriter and occasional director David S. Goyer is usually busy conceiving and co-writing superhero blockbusters such as Batman Begins and Man of Steel, it’s easy to forget that his non-tentpole tastes run towards supernatural horror. He hasn’t dipped into that well since he wrote and directed the terrible ghost flick The Unborn back in 2009, but he’s had an untitled project floating around Hollywood’s dark and dank basement for a while. Now, that project has an official name and an official director, though neither of them will get you jumping out of your seat.
Goyer and production company Lava Bear have brought in director Jason Zada to helm the supernatural thriller The Forest, which will take place in – get this – a forest! Fortunately, it’s the Aokigahara, which lies at the base of Mount Fuji in Japan. Also known as the Sea of Trees, this peaceful and picturesque setting has long been associated with demons and the spiritual remains of those who died there, and a lot of people have died there. The Aokigahara is one of the most popular suicide destinations in Japan, with around 100 people killing themselves there each year, despite many signs posted around encouraging them to think twice. I won’t lie, there’s something quite spooky about a bunch of broken-necked and overdosed ghosts haunting an area, and hopefully this film will be more effective than my imagination.
A lot of that will rest of the back of Zada, who will be making his feature debut here. You might know Zada’s work from his discomforting interactive short film Take This Lollipop that came out a couple of years ago and took social media by storm. I’d advise everyone who never heard of it to visit the link and personally participate before watching the video below, which won’t have nearly the same effect.
While Take This Lollipop and its stance on social privacy is obviously more an example of Zada’s state of mind rather than his directorial skills, there’s still quite a bit of promise there. If there’s even a single moment that matches the creepiness of having that guy turn and face the camera, The Forest will already be more promising than most low-budget horror efforts.
The script Zada will be working from was originally written by Goyer, but recently got the rewrite treatment from author Sarah Cornwell, whose first novel What I Had Before I Had You will be published in January by Harper Collins.
The Forest is set to begin production in the first half of 2014. Will you guys be bringing your hiking boots and your nooses?