The Forest [org. title La Forêt] is a miniseries on Netflix. The French crime thriller is full of off-beat characters and features many shocking twists!
Oh yeah, and murder is involved!
The story of The Forest begins when three teenage girls disappear from a small village. Since girls have disappeared from the village before, everyone assumes the same perpetrator is at it again. However, they have yet to find any of the girls – dead or alive.
Also, one of the adult women living in the village originally showed up out of nowhere as a little girl. She had apparently been living in the forest and couldn’t even speak the language.
In other words, something strange is going on and it seems to involve the forest near this village. However, this is a thriller and not a sci-fi or fantasy show, so nothing supernatural or paranormal is going on. It’s just human nature!
The European Edge
Since The Forest is a French production on Netflix, there’s no Hollywood drama in this story. No easy solutions, but plenty of nudity of varying degrees. And the plot twists will probably shock quite a few people.
For me, only The Sinner has come close to this level of dark realism. Even though I would never say The Forest is anywhere near as good as The Sinner, which I absolutely adored.
Also, the crime elements in this series managed to bring on plenty of horror and drama. The miniseries is categorized as a thriller (as it should), but we are dealing with a serial killer, so horror fans should feel right at home as well.
The best part of The Forest was seeing Alexia Barlier as Eve. She portrays the kind of character that has heart and courage. A bold woman, who is still allowed to be both soft and angry. In fact, I would have liked even more scenes with her.
A different kind of police officer
Something that really annoyed me – so much that I have to mention it here – was one of the lead characters. She’s a police officer but seems to be giving people in the village way too much slack.
Sure, she’s known these people since Kindergarten, but come on! You can’t let people drink and drive (or lie to the police) and just go “But he’s really a good guy”. And when we get to know more about this particular “good guy”, you cringe at why anyone would make excuses for him.
Also, it’s completely ridiculous that she’s even allowed to remain on a case that she is so personally involved with. Maybe it’s a French thing?
The police officer, Virginie, is portrayed wonderfully by Suzanne Clément, so I have nothing bad to say about her. In fact, she has that kind of intensity where you enjoy every moment she’s on the screen.
The same goes for the new police chief, Captain Decker, who’s portrayed by Samuel Labarthe. A very sincere and real man. The kind of police investigator you would want working on any case you’re involved with.
A good thriller but too many fake leads
Just as it was the case with La Mante (The Mantis), which is another French miniseries on Netflix, there are too many fake leads. When you know there are six episodes and each episode features at least one “We got him!” moment? That’s too much.
Watching the story unfold in this matter, you quickly come to realize that we won’t know anything until the very end. And that’s fine, but just stop with the crazy reveals that turn into nothing. It’s a real “the boy who cried wolf” trope.
The story is fascinating enough and I would rather that you had spent time exploring more of its elements. If you watch the series (and you should), you’ll see that there is plenty there to dive further into.
The Forest is a miniseries with 6 episodes and you can watch it on Netflix in most countries now!
And if you like The Forest, then you should enjoy La Mante as well – read our review of that miniseries here >
Creator: Delinda Jacobs
Cast: Samuel Labarthe, Suzanne Clément, Alexia Barlier, Frédéric Diefenthal, Patrick Ridremont, Martha Canga Antonio, Nicolas Marié
When a teen girl disappears from a village near the Ardennes Forest, local police and a concerned teacher begin to uncover a web of disturbing secrets.