Steven R. Monroe is the man responsible for the superb remake, I Spit on Your Grave, and its pointless and quite insulting sequel. I didn’t realise that he had already made another horror film as well as working on The Haunting of Molly Hartley, so the news of Grave Halloween (terrible title) caught me by surprise.
The film is set in the infamous Japanese Suicide Forest, a place where people have gone to commit suicide for years.
Wikipedia has some very disturbing information on the Aokigahara forest.
The forest is a popular place for suicides, reportedly the most popular in Japan. Statistics vary, but what is documented is that during the period leading up to 1988, about 100 suicides occurred there every year.
In 2003, 105 bodies were found in the forest, exceeding the previous record of 78 in 2002. In recent years, the local government has stopped publicizing the numbers in an attempt to downplay Aokigahara’s association with suicide. In 2004, 108 people killed themselves in the forest. In 2010, 247 people attempted suicide in the forest, 54 of whom completed the act. Suicides are said to increase during March, the end of the fiscal year in Japan. As of 2011, the most common means of suicide in the forest were hanging and drug overdoses.
The high rate of suicide has led officials to place signs in the forest, in Japanese and English, urging suicidal visitors to seek help and not kill themselves. Annual body searches have been conducted by police, volunteers, and attendant journalists since 1970.
There is already another film in the works based on this forest simply called The Forest, which is written by David S. Goyer and directed by Jason Zada.
Steven R. Monroe’s film will be released here in the UK on DVD on 27th October, courtest of Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment, and the trailer and synopsis for the film can be found next.
Deep in stark woodland at the base of Mount Fuji, restless whispers echo as the light fades on a mid-winter afternoon. Here, amongst a maze of roots, a lone figure takes her life, binding her body to the branches and her spirit to the undergrowth.
Years later as the crows scatter, Miko and her college friends head into Suicide Forest. Miko yearns to abide a Halloween ritual steeped in demonic tradition which will release her mother’s trapped soul. Filming their journey amongst the shadows, strange things start to happen; angry murmurs and sightings of ghosts warn there are those who do not want them there.
In the Sea of Trees an ocean of lost souls rises up, closing heavy boughs around Miko and her friends. Suddenly, the path to life is barricaded by the dead who have nothing to lose…