Into The Forest Is The Teen Dystopian Movie You’ve Been Waiting For
Imagine a post-apocalyptic world with no aliens, no one-per-centers ruling from a golden and untouchable capital, and (most mercifully) no arbitrary plot devices. In Into The Forest, stars Ellen Page and Evan Rachel Wood don’t try to overthrow any futuristic despots. They aren’t conscripted into an all-teen intergalactic army. They don’t leave Earth in search of another habitable planet—actually, they barely leave their house. It’s the best, most realistic teen dystopian movie we’ve seen (and we’ve seen them all).
Director Patricia Rozema’s end of the world is microcosmic, viewed through the eyes of two sisters left on their own after an accident takes the only parent they have. Living in a modern but remote house a two-hour drive (or a three-day walk) from town, Page and Wood’s characters don’t know whether to continue on the paths they thought their lives were taking (SATs, dance auditions) or to accept that this new reality (one without running water, electricity, and cell service) might be permanent.
A tension that lasts almost the length of the entire movie is fuelled by the fact that the sisters are cut off from the rest of the world and know very little about what’s happened there. Even their solar-powered radio has gone silent. But instead of suiting up and heading off to a war against alien invaders, they stay home, eat tins of dog food after their rice runs out, and fight over how to use the small amount of gasoline they have left.
All the while, they’re palpably alone and exposed in their wood and glass house in the wild. It’s only a matter of time before their concerns become bigger than sibling squabbles and basic survival skills.
Far from being a perfect film, Into The Forest is definitely still one to see. Unlike Katniss, Tris, or the host of other dystopian heroine copycats, the experiences of its characters is entirely relatable—which is what makes the story both frightening and compelling. The mistakes they make are the same ones we’d make. The situation they’re in is easily imaginable to anyone who’s gone without modern conveniences for 12 hours or more. And when danger and violence come, it’s with a familiar and human face.
Into The Forest is in theatres now. Check out the trailer below.