by Jorge Ignacio Castillo, published on September 17, 2015|
Into the Forest (Canada, 2015): In her first movie in seven years, Patricia Rozema takes on Jean Hegland’s high school classic and amps the ante to unbearable levels. Set in the proverbial not-too-distant future, Ellen Page and Evan Rachel Wood are sisters holed up in a cottage in the forest following a massive power outage.
As the lack of electricity lingers, it becomes clear civilization has collapsed and the girls will have to fend threats real and apparent by themselves. Rozema makes great use of Page and Wood apparent fragility to keep the tension going. This is not one of those post-apocalyptic dramas in which one of them succumbs to dementia while the other becomes “the strong one”. Both have virtues and shortcomings, and their complexity makes them compelling.
Ellen Page (in her first starring role since Whip It) and Evan Rachel Wood are superb, particularly the latter in a couple of devastating scenes. Outside some moments of clumsiness at the beginning thanks to some goofy next generation tech, Into the Forest unfolds confidently. Whether it sticks the landing, it’s up to you to decide, but it’s a hell of a ride. Four soon-to-be-roasted prairie dogs.