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certainly felt lost after watching The Forest of the Lost Souls, but I am not sure that was a good thing. A film of two halves, I became lost as it transitioned from a dark, ethereal fairytale (the Brothers Grimm kind) to a more conventional – and far less effective – slasher flick. Unfortunately, the film’s chilling premise is squandered by underdeveloped characters, a tedious middle act, and confusing finale.
Lost Souls opens with a young woman pondering the hardships of life and the supposed peace suicide can bring while repeating thought-provoking philosophical quotes regarding suicide. This opening hooked me: the haunting score, black and white cinematography, and subtle facial cues displayed by this disenchanted lady (played by the under-utilised Lília Lopes) convinced me she was not truly happy. Yet what I loved most was that it made me think, with the jarring closing shot leaving a lasting impression. We have seen the rise of smarter horror films such as Get Out and It Follows, and I initially thought Lost Souls deserving of equal merit.
Following this, we are introduced to two new personalities: the gruff Ricardo and mysterious Carolina, both portrayed excellently by Jorge Mota and Daniela Love. These characters have great repartee, with an undercurrent of warmth beneath their fierce debate regarding suicide. What I especially enjoyed was these two characters, separated by age and background but united in their quest for peace, journeying through the woods together. I have always been a fan of this genre of horror, with the pervasive feeling of dread Lost Souls conjured – similar to the highly praised Silent Hill series – commanding my attention.
It was therefore an extreme disappointment that this chilling atmosphere gave way to a frustrating middle act. At the end of Carolina and Ricardo’s journey, two revelations occur. Unfortunately, the first of these I felt was not particularly shocking, due to the weighted remarks previously made by Ricardo. However, while I did not foresee the latter it soon works to the film’s detriment, leading to a sadistic game of cat and mouse that fails to generate any serious scares. Although the direction echoes that of similar horror hits such as The Strangers, the execution is far less effective