“The Perfect Place To Die” The longer I was in Aokigahara, the more I believed this statement to be true. Despite the pervasive atmosphere of death and struggle and sadness, you felt cocooned here, isolated from the outside world.
-Jeremey Bates, Suicide Forest
I’ve always wanted to read or watch a documentary on The Suicide Forest. Ever since I heard of the place, it fascinated me. It’s a mysterious place, yet as eerie as it is, people are still drawn to it and reading Jeremy Bates’ Suicide Forest, I expected him to shed some light on the mysteries of the place. Unfortunately that was not the case with this book.
A group of friends led by Ethan, set out a hiking trip on Mt Fuji. Due to weather conditions their trip was postponed to the day after. The group then meet a couple who’s trip was also postponed and upon talking to them, they were told of a place called The Suicide Forest, with nothing else to do, the group joined the couple and ventured into the Suicide Forest.
I really wanted to like this book, I wanted to root for it even after reading several negative reviews. To my disappointment the book was terrible. The characters were one dimensional and flat out annoying. Ethan, the main protagonist, is a jealous guy who makes bad decisions throughout the whole book, he’s a difficult character to get behind to. The rest of the group are mostly stereotypes and there’s very little character development between them.
The first two acts were boring and it was filled with monologues that you couldn’t care about. There were a lot of unnecessary information given out and you just wish the book would just get straight into the killing or at least do something scary. At some points the book didn’t know the direction it was taking, was it going to be a supernatural ghost story or should it have a physical killer? You can call it unpredictable but by the time you realize what’s happening you couldn’t care less because you are not invested in the characters.
The only good thing about the book is the third act, which was exciting, it gave me the same feeling when I watched the remake of The Hills Have Eyes, which I liked. Overall this plays out like a bad horror movie. You have a scary place, flat characters and they’re just there for the killing. It had very little to do with the fact that it’s set on The Suicide Forest in which at times it felt like it could’ve been any forest in the world.
I really wanted for this book to do great and I was expecting a great horror story about The Suicide Forest, however this is not that book but if you’re someone who doesn’t mind a short, badly written horror story then this is for you.