Forest of Death (2023) Film Review


It's still the Forest of Death

Considering the development of the horror industry over the past few decades, it’s safe to say that lessons should have been learned by now. Classics are classics, and some modern ones take a few places. The rules have been designed and reworked for the sake of new audiences. And even sub-genres were born from the technical resources that worked for the genre. Making a horror film might seem like an easy feat these days, given the genre’s background and ups and downs.

In Brendan Rudnicki‘s The Forest of Death, there is zero intention of rewriting genre rules or making a huge movie. It’s a testament to the importance of newcomers to the genre when it comes to experimentation and trial and error to get the final product right. Rudnicki isn’t new to the business, having made quite a few films over the past few years, but that doesn’t mean he can’t keep learning. His latest, the skinwalker joint, proves two things: 1) there are still lessons to be learned, and 2) once you learn the skills, there’s no point in leaving them in the drawer.

It’s all about pacing and respect for the audience, beyond any commercial expectations like you and your producers. The Forest of Death is an indie horror film, and it’s accomplished within the confines of production value and dramatic performances. But at least it’s not a cheap montage of scares and special effects like many of its peers, either in independent circles or big studios.

The Forest of Death It tells the story of 4 friends who decide to rent a house in the woods. There are no trust issues in the group, they are good looking and just want to have fun. It’s your standard group of boys and girls out to kill by threat.

Encounters with locals, which include fireside tales, random behavioral changes and things lurking in the dark, are part of Rudnicki’s foray into the world of skinwalkers. When they start disappearing and reappearing, they realize that these legends might be true after all, and they should have listened.

With a running time of roughly 75 minutes, you could say that Rudnicki is trying to combine all the points on the agenda into a complete horror film. However, the young director doesn’t quite do it. He prefers to experiment with performances and tight spaces to make the audience feel part of something more mysterious than what you see in a regular X-Files episode. Threats in it The Forest of Death they come from all sides, but Rudnicki doesn’t overdo it with too much information or distracting images. Even the “monster” lays down when necessary for a more effective film.

Again, lessons to be learned. But Rudnicki has enough confidence in himself to make a horror film without trying to repeat everything he’s done before and in the same way everyone expects him to. In his script, things take time, and the fear comes from the subtle demeanor or the menacing darkness that surrounds four random youngsters.

But when it comes time to deliver, he does. There’s confidence in the young director, and maybe that’s all we need to get us excited for his next game. With horror enduring this solidity, it won’t be long before you find another project to pursue. We just hope it leaves you in awe. We need more fighters like this to show why the genre is growing in success and passion from outsiders in the audience.

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Federico Furzan

Founder of Screentology. Member of OFCS. RT rated critic
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