José Pedro Lopes wrote and directed the Portuguese slasher horror film The Forest of the Lost Souls that surprised me as a piece more tasteful than expected for its dark subject matter. The main actors and actresses are names like Daniela Love (Empress of the Evil Dead) and Jorge Mota (Conta-me História).
This work contains a disjointed, yet a fascinating story about two characters–Ricardo and Carolina. These two aimed to commit suicide in a forest famed for such acts, but they become fascinated by each other. In the meantime, they explore the forest to study other lost souls like themselves. After all, they have time to kill before they go through with their plans.Credit: Wild Eye Releasing
Stunning Aesthetics in The Forest of The Lost Souls
The highpoint of The Forest of The Lost Souls is the beauty of the shots in black-and-white. They never linger over the dead bodies, which they could use as shock value. They, instead, capture tension by focusing on the actors. It’s nice how they deal with such a complicated aspect of humanity.
You’re waiting for the blood to spill in an enjoyable slow-burn. It’s different from the usual jump-scare, loud noise fare that occurs in major horror franchises. The silence and minimalism are what benefit this movie due to how different it is from other works. I liken this piece to Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho in pacing and design rather than Friday the 13th.
Two Separate Stories in One Piece
I hoped for a bit more from the film’s second act as the movie moved away from the forest scenery. The Forest of the Lost Souls is efficient with using its roughly an hour and ten minutes of screen time, but they sacrificed character development when they needed it for the piece to work. While the first part ends at a satisfying conclusion, the second act seems rushed.
The watcher doesn’t care about the subsequent deaths and you’re left without a decent narrative or shock appeal. The watcher needed time to become attached to the issues these characters faced due to a broken home. Without the attachment, The Forest of the Lost Souls is difficult to watch for its second half. It loses its emotional appeal and doesn’t hit the notes needed to distract the viewer from the slasher’s lack of motive.
We know why they kill these people, but the why is weak in comparison to The Forest of the Lost Soul‘s true potential. You’re left disappointed at the end at the knowledge of wasted opportunity. This may be due to losing meaning in the English subtitling, but it’s the dialogue Non-Portuguese speaking watchers know.
Don’t Go Breaking My Heart
The Forest of the Lost Souls continues to be interesting to watch as a whole. Some sequences play out in an unexpected manner and you’re nervous to see the result. My biggest concern is how The Forest of the Lost Souls label as a psychological “coming of age” horror film because the average viewer is going into the film with incorrect expectations.
If you’re looking for a sensory explosion, you’re not going to find it in this film. It’s lacking in blood, viscera, and gore. But you’re going to see a certain beauty in The Forest of the Lost Souls that can’t be denied. I hope our reader give The Forest of Lost Soul a chance because it brings a new style to the table.
If our readers want to watch, The Forest of The Lost Souls will open theatrically August 5 in L.A and other cities. It will be distributer Wild Eye Releasing’s first theatrical release and they’re recent releases include well-received sci-fi thriller Soft Matter and James Klass’s House on Elm Lake.