"The Forest" is a new horror movie that will be released on Jan. 8, 2016 in the United States. It is directed by Jason Zada. "The Forest" is about a young woman whose twin sister goes missing, and she has a gut feeling that something is wrong. The story takes place in Aokigahara, Japan. "The Forest" is an actual place in Aokigahara. It is known as the "Suicide Forest" or the "Aokigahara Forest." The Forest is known as a place that thousands of people have gone to, to commit suicide. It is known as a place of death. The movie describes how Sara (the main character), enters the Forest in search of her sister's fate, and she comes across many strange illusions and angry souls of the dead.
"The Forest" is actually quite offensive. As an Asian-American, I can see how this movie is warped. One writer, who takes the pen name of "The Love Life Of An Asian Guy," has written his thoughts and opinions relating to the movie, and you can find it on Facebook. This writer's page is "A discussion of race relations, politics, decolonization, Asian-American and POC identities and pop culture analysis." He describes how the movie is much worse than whitewashing (according to Wikipedia, "whitewashing" means "to gloss over or cover up vices, crimes or scandals or to exonerate by means of a perfunctory investigation or through biased presentation of data." It is especially used in the context of corporations, governments, or other organizations). The writer explains that "The Forest," "a horror movie which stars a BLONDE WHITE GIRL, takes place in Aokigahara. So not only did they whitewash a movie and sidestep the opportunity to cast an Asian actress, they completely disrespected the fact that Suicide Forest is a REAL place where the Japanese go to end their life. And it's not like these suicides happened 400 years ago. This is happening right now. Over one hundred bodies are found in Aokigahara every single year."
What really sparked my opinion on this movie is what the writer explains here:
"['The Forest'] had an opportunity to address an issue that is literally killing Japanese citizens by the thousands. An issue that would have hit home with many Asian-Americans who also suffer from mental illness and depression. But instead of reaching out and confronting a problem that exists and is on-going, Hollywood turned it into a horror movie and whitewashed its cast, thus dehumanizing not only Asians around the globe affected by mental health, but those who have already committed suicide."
I absolutely agree with what "The Love Life Of An Asian Guy" has to say about "The Forest." Although it is a movie, it's true that this movie could have been made into something more accurate or more respectful. Since Aokigahara Forest is an actual place, I feel as though this movie might spark hatred for those who have history with the forest (such as having friends or relatives that have died there). Instead of approaching the story in a way that could be seen as a sort of respectful memorial for those that have committed suicide there (in reality), or educating people about suicide, it was made into a horror movie, to scare and entertain people. Suicide is extremely important, and many people need to be more educated about it. It is an issue that is significant all over the world and should not be taken as a joke or as a form of entertainment (by making one of the places with highest suicide rates into a horror movie).