What would happen if the electricity and all the things it powers were to disappear? No Internet. No radio. No cell phones! No way of knowing what caused it and when or if it would come back. And what if you were living in some remote locale where just getting into a town that might have some information was nearly impossible since there’s no gas for the car? That is the premise of Into the Forest, starring Ellen Page and Evan Rachel Wood as sisters, left alone way out in the woods in a semi-finished house to fend for themselves as their isolation puts enormous strains on their relationship. It’s a quiet post-apocalyptic film with flashes of violence that force them into life-changing choices about their future.
As the film starts, Nell (Page) is studying for a big exam and Eva (Wood) is practicing for an important dance audition. But suddenly the power is gone. At first they expect it will come back, and though they have solar power, they are unfortunately lacking an inverter so they can’t use it when the grid is down. They make do with candles and head into town the next day. There, people are abandoning their houses and going who knows where, there’s almost nothing left at the store, and the gas station is closed. When they get home, they have a can of gas but it becomes a bone of contention between the sisters. After weeks when the power hasn’t returned and cabin fever is making them crazy, Eva wants to use it to power the generator so they can listen to music or watch a DVD or do anything to pretend that life is normal, but Nell reasons that they only have enough to get to town and back once, and they might need it. Tempers flare and Nell decides to walk to the east coast (where rumor has it, there is power) with her boyfriend, but ultimately realizes she can’t leave her sister all alone. And then the violence befalls them. (No spoilers here) And it’s them against the world.
Into the Forest is a slow and quiet film. It is beautifully shot somewhere in the Pacific Northwest and has a very nice score. And both actresses are very good in it. They get that sister vibe perfectly. I just wish there had been more to the story. It’s an adaptation and I suspect the book does it better. The movie has so much going for it, but really needed a stronger script, especially the third act. Wait for it on Netflix.