Japan’s Aokigahara Forest has long been associated with demons of Japanese mythology, which might have contributed to what the site is most well-known for. The 14-square mile region at the northwest base of Mount Fuji is a notoriously popular spot for people to commit suicide. And I mean popular – in 2003, 105 bodies were discovered; in 2010, 54 people succeeded in ending their lives, while more than 200 people made the attempt; in the 1980s it was estimated that 100 suicides took place their every year. The problem is so bad that signs now mark the entrance to the forest, urging people to consider their families and seek help before taking their lives.
That’s the central setting of The Forest, a supernatural thriller starring Game of Thrones and The Hunger Games star Natalie Dormer as a twin whose sister disappears into Aokigahara. Traveling to Japan to find and save her twin, Dormer’s character enters the forest to find her and is confronted by the tormented souls of the dead who now inhabit the area. Directed by Jason Zada from a script written by David S. Goyer, Nick Antosca, Ben Ketai, and Sarah Cornwell, The Forest hits theaters January 8.