Beyond the Forest is neither an overlooked gem nor a coherent social statement... nor merely a camp classic... Nor is it a representative women’s picture, film noir, Dreiserian tragedy, or titillating potboiler, though it stirs in (or coughs up) chunks of each. It’s the ultimate bad hangover of a movie: a debris-stuffed grab bag of recrimination, guilt, malice, shame, and generalized nausea.
If Beyond the Forest deserves serious attention from film buffs (and I feel it does) that does _not_ mean it is not lurid, vulgar, trashy, overblown and fatally miscast... [It's] subversive in a way that few films in a complacent post-World War II Hollywood would ever dare to be. We in the audience may empathise with Rosa, not because she is in any way likeable or engaging (she isn’t) but because we ourselves would dread the sheer tedium of living in that house, in that town....