VOD film review: Into the Forest
Helen Archer | On 31, Jan 2018
Director: Patricia Rozema
Cast: Elliot Page, Evan Rachel Wood, Callum Keith Rennie
Watch Into the Forest online in the UK: Amazon Prime / Apple TV (iTunes) / Prime Video (Buy/Rent) / Google Play
Adapted from the novel by Jean Hegland, Into the Forest is a wonderfully atmospheric film, telling the story of two sisters, Eva (Evan Rachel Wood) and Nell (Elliot Page), as they try to survive in a very recognisable near future, after an unexplained and seemingly worldwide power outage.
Directed by Patricia Rozema, the film briefly shows their life before the power goes out and changes everything. Living with their father (Callum Keith Rennie) in a beautiful cabin deep in the woods of Northern California, the only real nod to the futuristic setting are the massive flat screen TVs and the voice controlled lights. Eva is dreamy yet focused dancer, while Nell is studying for her SATs and easily distracted by trips into the nearby small town so she can see her love interest, played by Max Minghella.
When the power goes down, the effect is not immediate – the family can cope for a while using candles and torches and by making wood-burning fires. But as technology fails them and communication with the outside world ends – no channels on their transistor radio, never mind any access to the internet – they become increasingly isolated. When they do manage to venture back into town, they find many of the locals have descended into savagery with startling speed. But despite this overly familiar post-apocalyptic set-up, Into the Forest is actually a fairly understated film – a quiet, subdued character study, as Eva and Nell realise they have to rely on each other in new ways, and dredge up inner resolve they never knew they possessed.
Although it is a survivalist tale, it’s also very much a performance-based film, with Page and Wood on top form, bringing real depth to their characters. While it loses its way slightly in the third act, what endures is the relationship between these two sisters. It’s a thoughtful look at how a life we take for granted can quickly be taken away, the ways in which we would cope, and the importance of family and the bonds which bind us.
Into the Forest is available to watch online on Amazon Prime Video as part of a Prime membership or a £5.99 monthly subscription.