Sunday, July 13, 2014

Black Forest (movie review)

Warning:  I’m going to give away details, including the ending to the movie.  You’ve been warned.

Made-for-TV movies have a reputation for being subpar.  You’re basically getting a feature-length film produced on a budget similar to a TV show.  You’re not getting the big budget of a studio-backed movie.  I’m not saying that they’re all bad.  Some serve as a backdoor pilot to a TV show, whether intentionally or not.  (The pilot for Due South was intended to simply be a movie, but high ratings brought us four seasons of episodes.)

Then, there’s the SyFy Channel.  It seems to have a reputation for putting two random ideas together and making a movie.  Again, I’m not saying that they’re all bad.  I’m just saying I’m not looking forward to Sharknado 2:  The Second One.  When I came across Black Forest on Netflix, I saw that it was produced by the SyFy Channel, I nearly skipped it.  But, there it was, available for streaming on Netflix.

The basic premise is that several tourists go to Europe for some sort of supernatural tour.  They end up being tricked into going over to a parallel world where fairy tales seem to come from.  They meet Karin, who lives in a hotel in the alternate world.  She seems to be helping them, but has ulterior motives.  Oh, and she happens to look like the dead wife of one of the tourists.

The tourists have to find a way back to their world, although that’s easier said than done.  Karin is able to help them, as she knows something about the world they’re in.  She was born in the real world, but has acclimated to the alternate world.  Two of the tourists happen to know a thing or two about the reality they’re in.  The remaining people tend more towards clueless.  As you might expect, one or two manage to get themselves killed due to their own stupidity.

Speaking of clueless, two of the other tourists are parents who bring along their baby and nanny.  This brings up one of those plot points that is necessary, but doesn’t make sense.  The tour takes place in the later hours.  The group is sent over to the fairy-tale world late at night, but the parents saw fit to drag the baby and nanny along with them.  You’d think that they’d leave their baby at the hotel, given that they’ve brought someone they can trust with their child.  I understand that the people of the alternate world need children, but you’d think that someone would have said something as to why the child had to come along.

The movie is entertaining.  At least most of the plot made sense.  It didn’t go too heavy into folklore.  It was just enough to move the story along without having to make a cameo out of every bedtime story.  Also, the film quality seemed to be much higher than I would have expected.  It seems like movies and shows from TV often don’t get the best transfer quality.  (To be fair, most that don’t seem to be from before the age of DVDs and streaming.)

The idea of  fairy tales being really isn’t new.  There was a show I really liked called Special Unit 2 that dealt with creatures that served as the basis for monsters and the like.  I should warn you that the movie is not all family friendly.  The nanny meets her end in a gruesome manner.  The father’s end isn’t particularly pleasant, either.  You might want to skip this movie if you’re squeamish. 

I don’t regret having watched this.  I was able to get it streaming, although it doesn’t seem to be available on DVD.  (Note that the Amazon link is for region 3.)  I’m not sure if it hasn’t been released in region 1 or if Netflix simply doesn’t have access to it.  If you have Netflix, I’d suggest giving it a try.

No comments :