Outside of Tokyo, Japan, at the base of Mt. Fuji, there lies approximately 14 square miles of forest. This dense woodland is Aokigahara, an undeniably beautiful setting that is marred by its dark history. The area is more widely known by the forest’s two nicknames: the Sea of Trees and the Suicide Forest.
The forest has long been associated with death in Japan. It is believed that prior to the nineteenth century, families would abandon the elderly and infirm in Aokigahara, sacrificing them to the forest to remove their financial burden on the family. The act was known as ubasute. In the modern day, the site is the second most common place to commit suicide in the world (behind the Golden Gate Bridge). Since the 1950s, it’s estimated that anywhere from 50 to 100 people take their lives in the forest each year.
Aiming to capitalize on the site’s morbid reputation is the upcoming film The Forest. MTV released the first official trailer for the film, which can be viewed at the top of the article. The Forest comes from the recently relaunched Gramercy Pictures, the subsidiary of Focus Features dedicated to action, science fiction and horror films. The film stars Natalie Dormer (Game of Thrones) and is based on an idea from Batman V Superman scribe David Goyer.
Check out the film’s official synopsis:
“A supernatural thriller set in the legendary Aokigahara Forest at the base of Mt. Fuji in Japan. A young American woman, Sara (Natalie Dormer of ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘The Hunger Games’), goes in search of her twin sister, who has mysteriously disappeared. Despite everyone’s warnings to ‘stay on the path,’ Sara enters the forest determined to discover the truth about her sister’s fate — only to be confronted by the angry and tormented souls of the dead that prey on anyone who wanders into the forest.”