'The People Garden' falls in the forest and doesn't make a sound (or much of anything else)

Japan’s Aokigahara forest is infamous as a haunted place, where people from around the world travel to commit suicide. In 2016 though, it’s become where film crews go to make bad movies. First “The Forest,” then “The Sea of Trees,” and now “The People Garden” have all transformed the eerie beauty of Aokigahara into a blank canvas, onto which they’ve scribbled banalities.

“The People Garden” stars Dree Hemingway as Sweetpea, a completely nondescript young woman who flies to Japan to break up with her rock star boyfriend, Jamie. When Sweetpea arrives, she learns Jamie’s disappeared into the forest. Worried that he’s planning to harm himself, she asks the people working on his music video for clues to where he might have gone — and why.

To accomplish this, Sweetpea just sort of … walks around. And smokes. And stares off into the distance. And pauses for five seconds or so between each whispered line of dialogue. Writer-director Nadia Litz appears to be aiming for narrative minimalism, keeping the characters’ backstories and present actions equally muted and curtailed.

“The People Garden” does look pretty — which is to be expected, given that it’s set in the woods. And the movie gets a too-brief lift from cameos by James Le Gros as an unflappable director and Pamela Anderson as an aging sex symbol.

See the most-read stories in Entertainment this hour »

Mostly though, “The People Garden” is so slow and spare that it barely registers. It just floats through the forest, silent and bloodless.


‘The People Garden’

Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 23 minutes

Playing: Starts Tuesday at the Downtown Independent, Los Angeles

photo 'The People Garden' falls in the forest and doesn't make a sound (or much of anything else) images

photo of 'The People Garden' falls in the forest and doesn't make a sound (or much of anything else)

Article 'The People Garden' falls in the forest and doesn't make a sound (or much of anything else) compiled by Original article here

Relax 'The People Garden' falls in the forest and doesn't make a sound (or much of anything else) stories

Tears and wry laughs fuel Chris Kelly's insightful 'Other People'

Darkly funny, enormously moving and wonderfully observed, writer-director Chris Kelly’s “Other People” makes a fine companion piece to the recent “The Hollars,” another strong, idiosyncratic, real-life-inspired film about an adult son’s return home to be with his ill mother. Watching “Other People,”

Grindhouse-style 'Happy Birthday' talks its sadistic head off

There’s a fine line between mocking obnoxious bro behavior and celebrating it, and writer-director Casey Tebo’s “Happy Birthday” too often falls on the wrong side of the divide. Though well-acted and stylish, this meta-grindhouse exercise strains under its own self-satisfied cleverness.

Connections are elusive in the dreamy Cabo drama 'El Ganzo'

A voyage south of the border is a truly strange trip in Steve Balderson’s “El Ganzo.” His stars, Anslem Richardson and Susan Traylor, take co-writing credits in this tale of two wandering souls who cross paths at the hotel El Ganzo in Cabo San Lucas. Lizzy (Traylor), endures a fender bender en route

'The Green Fairy' is a groan-inducing fantasy nonfiction ode to absinthe

The belief that absinthe induces hallucinations is the stuff of ignorance and myth, as “The Green Fairy,” a “fantasy documentary” about the long-banned quaff, goes to tortured lengths to chronicle. But consider it a matter of scientific certainty that the film will induce groans from its audience.

Evil spirits crash the wedding in Marcin Wrona's funny-spooky 'Demon'

“Just a normal wedding,” the mother of the bride sniffs more than halfway through Marcin Wrona’s “Demon.” She’s exaggerating a little. By that point in this Polish-set matrimonial horror film, the weather has taken a foul turn, a few guests have come to physical blows and the groom has been confined

'For the Love of Spock': A warm father-and-son trek

Just as Leonard Nimoy had an uneasy relationship with his famous alter ego, his standing with his son wasn’t always on terra firma, as explored in Adam Nimoy’s honest but warmly affectionate screen memoir, “For the Love of Spock.”

More stories

Recent Post

Recent movies