Walk in the Forest - Short Film Review

★★

A film by: #JohanneChagnon

Short Film Review by Taryll Baker

Poster for Walk in the Forest

An experience like no other, Walk in the Forest offers up an ASMR-like atmosphere with gentle sounds amongst terrifying, eerie tones and screams. Gleaming with many festival selections and laurel leaves covering the official poster art, it’s hard to pin-point exactly what hooked the attention of those selecting films for showcase at all these big festivals, but I’m assuming it’s the nature of the film.

Walk in the Forest isn’t really a film at all; it’s a venture through a dark and spooky terrain of sound. An audible situation in which your ears are held captive and forced to retreat to this gloomy place. Visually chaotic with plenty of strange triggers, provoking deep thought and questions. Perhaps the intrigue is what pulls people in, and understandably so, but the ruinous and unsettling nature of the film makes it tough to sit through, even in its short length.


Walk in the Forest doesn’t seem to present anything else beyond its unique look and feel. There’s an admirable sense of exploration perhaps not just for the viewer but the creator, Johanne Chagnon. Evidently, there must be a reason and purpose for this sort of content to come flowing out of her brain and onto our screens. It’s not something I particularly care for, but I can appreciate the approach; it’s right out of left field. Creeping up on the senses, the film becomes progressively darker and more interesting though no less confusing. It’s left unclear, at least to me, what Walk in the Forest actually wants to tell us.


And there lies the issue; spoon-feeding isn’t the goal here, but a more careful and succinct explanation, even subtly, can help the viewer along to understanding intention. Chagnon’s mind is clearly raging with ideas, and seemingly resonating with many. But it’s a very odd experience and selective of whom in the audience it will click with. When the film cuts to black after a strange “climax” (if you could call it that), you’re left feeling nothing but a chilled emptiness. Perhaps that was the intention all along; to drain us of any consciousness and just take us on a trippy ride, and if so, it succeeds. But alas, I’m left in the darkness; as if I was lost in the forest myself.


- #TaryllBaker