Rare are films that treat audiences as intelligent and capable moviegoers—viewers who appreciate stories without a dictionary of signposts. Into the Forest, directed by Canadian filmmaker Patrica Rozema, is just that: a thriller for grown-ups.
Shot in B.C, this adaptation of a novel by Jean Heglund focuses squarely on the evolving relationship of two sisters in an unspecified forest. Faced with a continent-wide power failure, the two fight for survival and take us along with them as they adapt to increasingly terrifying new realities. As viewers, we never find out what caused the blackout. Instead, we are treated to a masterful study of grief, courage, and renewal. As siblings, Evan Rachel Wood and Ellen Page deliver highly skilled portraits.
While there are plenty of frights and no shortage of violence (including a terrifying scene sure to break your heart), this is not a page torn from the Walking Dead. It is a narrative drenched with hope as the sisters forage their own depths for strength. I saw this film at TIFF last September and it lingers yet whenever the house lights flicker.
If you have daughters, go see it. If you have sisters, go see it. If you have neither, see it for a rare glimpse of intelligent suspense and female grit. And yes, applaud our gorgeous Canadian topography while you’re at it.
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