Aragorn: Of course the woods are enchanted. They all are. Gimli: Nature Boy is right. When was the last time anyone saw a regular, non-enchanted forest? You can't grow two trees next to each other without some wizard or demon coming along and enchanting them.
The One-Handed Girl hides from her brother in the forest; a prince finds her there and marries her. When her brother tracks her down and convinces the king and queen that she is a witch, she goes back; there she rescues a snake, gets back her hand, and receives a magical ring, with which she wins back her husband.
In "Biancabella and the Snake", Biancabella's mother-in-law orders servants to kill her. They carry her off into the forest to do so, but only mutilate and leave her there.
Now deep in this forest, as the stepmother well knew, there was a green lawn and on the lawn stood a miserable little hut on hens' legs, where lived a certain Baba Yaga, an old witch grandmother. She lived alone and none dared go near the hut, for she ate people as one eats chickens. The merchant's wife sent Vasilissa into the forest each day, hoping she might meet the old witch and be devoured; but always the girl came home safe and sound, because the little doll showed her where the bush, the flowers and the berries grew, and did not let her go near the hut that stood on hens' legs.
Star Wars had Dagobah and Endor. Also Yavin 4 (the site of the Rebel Base in the first movie) though we don't see much of it, and Kashyyyk, which is so lush with vegetation that it manages to be this andJungle Japes.
The woods through which Tristan travels in Stardust.
The Appalachian woods in the first two Evil Dead movies. An ordinary forest under normal circumstances, once the Book of the Dead's been read aloud, it transforms into a twisted, fog-shrouded Genius Loci of living trees, shifting paths, and roaming, unseen spirits. The spell might have the same effect anywhere: the evil it awakens is said to lie dormant in "the forests and dark bowers of man's domain".
Two sequel video games have different takes on what happens when the book's read in an urban environment. A Fistful of Boomstick portrays it as more or less a standard Zombie Apocalypse, but Regeneration (a Continuity Reboot sequel) shows a wrecked city engulfed by mist and overrun with giant, living tree roots, as though it were in the process of changing into a Lost Wood.
Avatar, in which the entire forest is also one massive planetary ecological hivemind of sorts.
The headless horseman's burial site in Sleepy Hollow is located in a creepy forest completely devoid of animal life.
Raggedy Ann & Andy: A Musical Adventure has the Deep, Deep Woods, which the dolls are warned to stay away from by Marcella. While at first it seems to be a normal forest, made spooky by the darkness of night, it ends up being the gateway to The Greedy and Loony Land.
Princess Mononoke. The forest has its own ancient tree spirit, giant wolves, giant boar...
Snow White & the Huntsman plays with this trope with The Dark Forest and the Sanctuary. One is an evil forest and one is full of fairies, but they're both undoubtedly ancient forests filled with strange creatures. However, the Huntsman, being one of the only people to have survived entering the Dark Forest before, has learned that while it is treacherous and filled with dangerous creatures, the real danger is that it is full of hallucinogenic spores. Combined with the superstitions of the average person of the time, a person wandering the Dark Forest perceives it as much more hellish.
Legends & Myths
In Norse Mythology, Jįrnvišr (Jarnvidr), which means "Iron-wood", is a forest inhabited by giantesses and giant wolves. Norse heroic legend also has "Myrkvišr inn ókunna", "the unknown Mirkwood", a vast and little explored wood located somewhere in Eastern or Central Europe.
In the legend of Genevieve of Brabant, she lived in the forest after escaping Malicious Slander. Fortunately, a magical deer helped her there.
The above quote from DM of the rings was actually considered true by the Ancient Greeks. Forests (and mountains, valleys, or anywhere else where nature dominated the landscape) was considered to be "numinous": haunted by spirits and immortals.
It also helped that there was a god, goddess, demi-god, nymph, maenid, sprite or other spiritual creature in charge of pretty much every natural feature from rivers to trees to small hills.
In Arthurian lore, the Forest of Broceliande in Brittany, the location of many adventures of the Arthurian knights. Broceliande was known for being inhabited by fairies and home to the Lady of the Lake. Other notable locations in Broceliande are the Val sans Retour (Valley of No Return) where Morgan Le Fay imprisoned her lovers, the Fountain of Youth, and the tree where Merlin was imprisoned, as well as the Tomb of Merlin.
Ratleaf Forest from Tailchaser's Song. It's old, foreboding and 'The big bad sets up his fortress there.
It's arguable that every Tad Williams book has an example.
The books of Robert Holdstock's Mythago Cycle make heavy, heavy use of this trope. Ryhope Wood, the focus of the books, is a remnant of very ancient forest that brings to life figures from the collective unconscious. From the outside, it's a small wood that's nearly impossible to penetrate. From the inside, it's an enormous stretch of primordial wilderness, where time runs differently.
Both the Deepwoods and the Twilight Woods from The Edge Chronicles are fitting examples of this trope.
In Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts novels, Tanith used to be like this, with mobile trees, before it was destroyed the day the regiment Tanith First & Only, Gaunt's Ghosts, was founded. The Ghosts themselves are marvelous at stealth, and Gaunt attributes it to their learning how to get around on their homeworld.
In Straight Silver, the forests of Aexe Cardinal remind them of Tanith. They also contain a mysterious woman who makes predictions to Gaunt and lends him a car that just vanishes (along with its keys) when it gets them where they are going.
Discworld has Skund Forest, home of gnomes, witches and talking trees. There's also Cutshade Forest in "Troll Bridge", which Cohen the Barbarian calls "proper darksome" and full of giant spiders ... at least before it was sold to a lumber mill, chopped down and replanted with spruce.
Harry Turtledove's Tales of the Fox series has the forest around Ikos, where strange things live, which has a mind (or mids) of its own, which doesn't necessarily care for people, and roads only exist at the forest's sufferance. It can also make unwanted travelers vanish in unexplained but silently ominous ways. It's implied that the forest exists to protect the Oracle of Ikos, placed by the all-seeing god Biton.
A Song of Ice and Fire has weirwood forests, especially those with a heart tree, due to their association with the children of the forest and the old gods. A more malevolent version would be the Haunted Forest beyond the Wall, due to the Others.
A benevolent version is the setting of Zilpha Keatley Snyder's Green-Sky Trilogy. The forest covers the entire world and is a friendly, nurturing place to the tree-dwelling Kindar people. The Erdlings, who have spent many generations trapped underground, eulogize the forest as a lost paradise, but the first Erdling to escape from the caverns experiences the forest as both lonely and threatening at first.
The Forbidden Forest in Harry Potter is filled with centaurs, unicorns, giant spiders, and other magical beasts to the point that students are punished by having to go in it at night.
The Forests of Silence, an example of this trope are a major plot point in the first book of the Deltora Quest book series; it's also the name of the first book.
The Saga of Recluce has the Accursed Forest (later Naclos), a sort-of-sentient being whose massive Order and Chaos flows ties all of its animals and plants together into a single entity. While no more dangerous to simply pass through than any other forest, it fights back with deadly force against anyone attempting to tame, cultivate or cut it.
The Enchanted Forest Chronicles take place in an unpredictable, but usually benign, enchanted forest. (At least, the later three do; Dealing with Dragons takes place in the Mountains of Morning, where the dragons live.)
The eponymous wood of Hexwood - either it's a small piece of wooded land near a housing estate where the local kids go to play (littered with crisp packets, and you can see through to the other side in places) or it's a vast forest containing a rushing river with waterfalls, caves, an Arthurian-style castle and dragons. Or both. And that's not all that's going on, either.
The Blood Trees from episode 5 of MythQuest. Yuki-Onna, a snow demon, lives there.
Horror-punk band Calibretto's song "Don't Go in the Woods". It falls at the end of the mostly tongue-in-cheek Dead by Dawn EP, yet it's an oddly sincere song, with the narrator lamenting that he didn't warn his "baby" strongly enough to stay out of the woods. What happened is never explained, but "I fear I'll never see you again".
The Decemberists' rock opera, The Hazards of Love, is set in woods such as this, ruled over by the dread Forest Queen.
The Agapeland album Nathaniel the Grublet has Direwood, a spooky forest that causes any Grublet caught there after sunrise to disappear (whether it effects anyone else this way isn't clear). It even has its own song, sung by Thurl Ravenscroft.
Changeling: The Lost plays on the idea of the Lost Woods with the Hedge, another dimension that makes up the gap between Earth and Faerie. There are wonders in it, yeah, but it's also a predatory dimension full of hobgoblins and soul-rending thorns. And it's remarkably easy for ordinary humans to get lost in...
Exalted has the far East, surrounding the Elemental Pole of Wood. This serves as the source for the vary concept of plantishness in Creation. Eventually, the trees grow so thick that the branches and leaves fill up what would be the sky, and the roots crowd out the earth itself, leaving nothing but an endless procession of trunks, roots, and branches.
Ravenloft has Lost Woods in spades. Much of the southeastern Core (the main landmass) is covered in thick, primeval forests. Notable areas include Verbrek (full of savage werewolves), Kartakass (full of intelligent wolves that hunt humans by shapeshifting into seductive human forms), and Tepest (where the goblins are the least of your worries compared to The Fair Folk and the hags).
Legend of the Five Rings has the Shinomen Forest, which is almost completely unexplored and seemingly full of mysterious ruins that predate humanity. Legend holds that these were built by a race of snake-people who sleep within the forest. This turns out to be true, but is actually a good thing, as the snake-people are quite heroic.
In Warhammer, much of the Old World is covered by vast forests full of Beastman, Minotaurs, and worse things.
Indie RPG Summerland has this as a central motif-the world has been spontaneously covered by a supernatural forest called the Sea of Leaves, inhabited by sentient beasts, eccentric hermits called the Lost, and savage Wild tribes, who have forgotten they were once human. Those last two were normal people, but had their personalities overwritten by the Charm Person effect the Sea has on normal people (the Lost are treatable, the Wild are not). You play as a Drifter, a person immune to the call...which is probably worse than being normal, since it requires having such overwhelming trauma in one's past that you can't deal with normal people.
Usually one fifth of every Magicthe Gathering set. Lorwyn and Shadowmoor took place in the same woodsy fairytale land, the first being enchanted and the second being cursed.
Paper Mario 64 features Forever Forest as the setting for Chapter 3 up to the transition to Gusty Gulch. It is haunted, after a fashion, though the scary bits serve as hints more than haunts; and the enemy population consists of Fuzzies and Piranha Plants. Like in certain incarnations of Zelda's Lost Woods, going the wrong way just takes you back to more familiar settings, so becoming irretrievably lost from Toad Town is not a concern, except for the critters...
Boggly Woods in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door is this area with a twist: the entire area looks like a photo negative. The later Twilight Trail is dark and scary, though the ghosts don't show up until later.
Super Mario Galaxy has Honeyhive and Gold Leaf Galaxy, which are a bit more whimsical than your standard Lost Woods, but they do have giant bugs, lots of bees (including a power-up), and in Gold Leaf, rabbits. Enemies that are standard fare for these worlds appear too, like Wigglers and Monty Moles. Gusty Garden Galaxy is like this to an extent as well, although it's not an actual forest.
Tall Trunk Galaxy from the sequel, in which there are various planets either shaped like trees, logs, and even a giant slide much akin to the one seen in Super Mario 64.
Forest Maze from Super Mario RPG, which even features a Zelda style "one of these paths is not like the others" puzzle.
Somnom Woods from Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, characterized in-universe as being the most underdeveloped area of the island, and also being the second-to-last area visited. The final Dream World portion of Somnom Woods is especially maze-like.
In Sonic the Hedgehog 2 there was a level called Wood Zone that was removed late in development, some fan mods of the game include it.
Viridian Forest, Ilex Forest, Petalburg Woods, Eterna Forest, Pinwheel Forest, and Santalune Forest in each of the Pokémon generations. Lostlorn Forest and Winding Woods are late-game examples in Gens 5 & 6 respectively.
Tales Series likes this trope, and it appears in almost every, if not every, installment. Tales of Symphonia even has TWO: besides Gaoracchia is Torent Forest, which while not as dark or creepy does require you to follow a specific path or you'll just end up wandering around indefinitely.
Ancient Forest in Final Fantasy VII is a sidequest example of this trope. There's also the Sleeping Forest, which is integral to the plot, and cannot advance unless you have a magic harp in your possession.
Final Fantasy VIII had the Chocobo Holy Land, which was not actually a dungeon but was very old-growth, very remote and very hard to reach (except by chocobo).
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time has a setting called Kokiri Forest, where the protagonist grows up as an outsider. Connected to the Kokiri Forest by a hollow treetrunk is the Lost Woods, where visitors, upon staying too long, would supposedly turn into Stalfos. Link and the Kokiri are immune to this because they all have a fairy with them, but this doesn't protect you from getting lost and wandering back to the entrance if you take a wrong turn.
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess has the Sacred Grove, where you follow a Skull Kid from Ocarina of Time to find the Master Sword in a clearing similar to the one in A Link to the Past, and also very reminiscent of (and structurally identical to) the Temple of Time in Ocarina of Time, for good reason. Also in Twilight Princess, there's the Forest Temple, which is more organic than its Ocarina of Time counterpart.
The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks has a brief forest area you have to navigate, with intersections where you must look at the direction the nearby tree's branch is pointing to choose where to turn. Top it off with the LAST intersection in the puzzle being accompanied by a tree designed to point OPPOSITE of where you're supposed to go (a man from Whittleton does warn you about this, though).
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword features Faron Woods, the area that eventually becomes the Kokiri Forest and Lost Woods. The main area is rather maze-like, the inhabitants are Plant People, and the Master Sword ends up resting there. However, as the game takes place hundreds of years before the other examples in the series, the area is much more open than in other games.
The Legend Of Zelda A Link Between Worlds sees the return of both the Lost Woods and Skull Woods as they appeared in A Link to the Past. This time, the former also includes a maze in the "enter the wrong path and you return to the entrance" style.
World of Warcraft features a few of these, typically anywhere Night Elves make their abode. Ashenvale is the most prominent example, with the lighting always at essentially night-time levels and full of things like giant wolves and big, stompy four-story walking trees.
Also present in a small part of the Blade's Edge Mountains where the night elves have set up their lone town (versus Cenarion Expedition outposts) in Outland, which they've terraformed into a small slice of the Lost Woods.
Terrokar Forest would perhaps be a better example.
Duskwood qualifies as well.
Northrend adds The Grizzly Hills and Howling Fjord.
Lusternia has the Glomdoring forest (which in the tongue of the fae means "Forest Without Mercy"), populated by the prerequisite living trees, harpies, and angry sentient grass. There's an underground commune consisting primarily of Drow-esque crossbreeds between Elves and The Fair Folk.
Wiese Forest (Chapter 3) in Riviera: The Promised Land has an area like this. Cierra leads you in this direction, thinking it's a shortcut to the next area, only to have Serene berate her for getting lost. Furthermore, you have to navigate through two different sequences to get out.
Chrono Trigger rather subverts this in that most of the forests in the game are not pristine, forming more of an urban green belt in places. However, by its famously moody music track Secret of the Forest, one could easily forget this for a moment.
Shadow Forest, like most of Chrono Trigger's forests, is actually very accessible to human foot traffic in the game, but retains its ancient pristine cloud forest feel.
Gaea's Navel is far more remote and inaccessible, located on a plateau island with steep cliffs on all sides, complete with an unspoilt Lost World on top.
Nearly ever World of Mana game has at least one of these, owing to the series' central environmental theme. The most pristine, ancient and undisturbed of these forests usually is home to the game's Mana Tree plot device.
Seiken Densetsu 2 / Secret of Mana had several of these, with playable areas being small parts of bigass undeveloped forest land covering vast stretches of the world map. The Mana Tree's forest is located on the island of Pure Land, inaccessible from the water because of high cliffs, and inaccessible from the air because of dense clouds that never clear. With its deceptively peaceful zen-like music, Pure Land actually has some of the most difficult normal enemies in the game.
Seiken Densetsu 3 had the Mana Holy Land, actually set apart from the main world map and occupying a separate space. It is home to—you guessed it, the Mana Tree.
The game also has a forest maze that hides a Hidden Elf Village; the correct trail is marked by glowing flowers at night.
Parts of the Earth Area in Guardian of Paradise. As it's a homage to The Legend of Zelda franchise it also has a section where it becomes a full-on maze, but you're guided by a ferret/cat you saved earlier.
The unofficial remake of King's Quest II had a swamp like this, but not the original game.
The forest of Yoshpet in Ōkami was very magic even before the dark forces moved in.
Perez Park in City of Heroes is an abandoned, overgrown, gang-infested city park that's a Scrappy Level for a number of reasons. One of which is that there's no reason to go there, thankfully. Villainside there's Nerva, and all forest areas in the game tend to be infested with the Circle of Thorns.
While Croatoa isn't entirely covered in forest, it does fit the trope better with the perpetual night/twilight, fog, and various magical creatures running about. Then there is Eden, which has tree mazes filled with various mutant plant life, including trees that suddenly come to life.
The Nasuverse features a monster forest named the Forest of Einnashe. Anything that wanders into its fifty-year cycle manifestation is swarmed from all directions by the forest and has its blood drained.
Jade Cocoon takes place entirely in Lost Woods. Then the Dark World counterparts of said forests.
Banjo-Kazooie has Click Clock Wood, which uses the concept of season change to show the progression of various events. Logically, the level becomes Slippy-Slidey Ice World in winter. On a different note, one of the dropped levels was Fungus Forest, which was put in Donkey Kong 64 instead as Fungi Forest. There's a framed photo in Banjo's house of Banjo standing in what is presumably Fungus Forest.
The Living Forest from Mortal Kombat; it's a forest made up of trees with faces that frequently growl. Deceptions Konquest mode also implies that they may bleed red blood (as you can see some cut down trees with red stuff inside of them).
Golden Sun has Kolima Forest, which earns bonus points for having a Deku Tree style dungeon, and Mogall Forest.
Dragon Age: Origins has the Brecilian Forest, inhabited by many dangerous spirits due to being the site of an ancient massacre of elves by a human army. However, the player party will be sent in to deal with a werewolf problem.
Knights of the Old Republic has the Shadowlands of Kashyyyk (already mentioned under film above; also, probably not the trope), the dark and dangerous ground level beneath the homes of the wookiees on the trees.
Cosmos Cosmic Adventure has a few levels set in forests, but the fourth level of episode 1 best exemplifies this trope, with its creepy-looking trees (with eyes looking out of them), ghosts, and thunderstorm.
There are multiple sequences of traveling through a special zone of the forest in Brave Fencer Musashi.
The Elder Scrolls series has a number of these scattered through its games. Go into a thick one with mist curling around the roots of the trees, half-light the only light to see by, and the odd sight of an Ayelid ruin peeking out of the trees, and you have a good example.
There are two in Shining The Holy Ark. One is the second dungeon that leads to a cemetery (complete with secret underground passage). The second is just before you reach the Haunted House. In both cases expect the dead to be roaming around and for trees to pop out of the ground to attack you.
Not even driving games are safe from this: Deep Forest Raceway in Gran Turismo has this effect.
Sequoia Forest in Jet Moto 3 goes from the surface to bridges suspended hundreds of feet in the air, but you can never see the tops of the trees.
The island of The Witness has a wide array of biomes (especially for its small size), but it is primarily covered in temperate forests. Strangely, one of the forests is in autumn while the rest are in spring/summer.
A Hat In Time has the Subcon Forest, where you're immediately warned to stay on the path.
The people here get . . . kind of crazy when they leave the path.
Vagrant Story has the Snowfly Forest, source of endless frustration for many a player thanks to its mazelike series of teleports. Ashley mentions that he need only follow the snowflies to escape, but people get lost anyway because it's the concentration of flies in one area you have to watch out for, not the direction they're flying.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. features the real-life Red Forest, stated to be where most of the Zone's mutants come from. Doubles as the game's second Bleak Level, after the Wild Territory.
In Shadow of Chernobyl, the entire place is rife with mutants, including the nasty strain of Pseudodog, the Psy-Dog. Before you kill the Brain Scorcher, the only "human" presence to be found is the Brainwashed and CrazyMonolith troops. After you do, there are a few batches of Loners at the roads, as well as Duty and Freedom duking it out near Pripyat, but the place still remains quite hostile, with Electros, Whirligigs and bucketloads of radiation if you so much as take a step off the paved road.
In Clear Sky, you visit a different, actually forested part of it, one closer to the trope's basic description. It's well-known for a large clearing with an odd rock formation filled to the brim with anomalies, the Pseudogiant that lives there, the many Burnt Fuzz anomalies in nearly every tree, and the Forester. Interestingly, it's actually more peaceful and less remote than the section the Marked One treads through, with a number of Duty patrols constantly securing the area against dogs and Snorks.
The Forest of Hope and Forest Navel in Pikmin. Pikmin 2, besides reusing the former (renamed Awakening Wood), has Wistful Wild as well.
The Skull valley in Annyseed, everything in it is a little bit more mysterious.
Surprisingly averted so far in Ears for Elves, given that this is fantasy set in a forest full of elves. There may be something in them (see Elon's warning under Dont Go Into The Woods), but we haven't seen it yet.
The Grove near Whateley Academy. The spirits there will happily do favors for Fey, who's the reincarnation of an ancient Sidhe queen, and respect at least some of her friends, but the average human is still very much not welcome. Campus security has an eye on that forest and makes an effort to intercept people (including students) heading there without authorization for generally good reasons.
Tasakeru: The main characters live in the titular forest, an ancient, abandoned, mostly unexplored wilderness that is home to not a few strange things...
Neopets has the Haunted Woods.
Post-Colony Drop, Faerieland has become a non-dangerous example of this. We hope.
The Tensian Forest north of Sterling is teeming with gates that periodically allow anything from simple steam, to outright Eldritch Abominations into the normal world. Located in the forest is the guild HQ of Dire, who devote an entire division to patrolling the forest 24/7 for anything...terrifying. The only reason the guild seems to stay in the forest is for its beautiful scenery (along with the fact that the officers of guild possess the skill and strength to handle anything within the forest).
SCP Foundation - SPC-416, the "Infinite Woods". An intersection of six-dimensional space in our three-dimensional environment, any foot travel inside of it renders the traveler unable to leave by foot. The only way of safely extracting a person it in is via air-lift. GPS trackers on personnel who enter the woods show their objective rate of traversal falling off to zero the further they go into them, even if their subjective experience is that of maintaining a constant speed.
"In the swamp, we see visions of people we've lost, people we've loved, folks we think are gone. But the swamp tells us they're not. We're still connected to them. Time is an illusion and so is death."
Probably the best example for the Japanese, Aokigahara, sometimes called the Sea of Trees, is an incredibly dense and hard-to-navigate forest. It's also the second-most popular site for suicides...
Anywhere that counts as part of the Boreal Forest, especially in Canada. A 10-minute drive out of your local Northern town, and you find yourself literally facing the same countryside that the first settlers had to deal with. Great for hiking and hunting. Can overlap with the Ghibli Hills, especially in summertime.
The Trans-Taiga Highway in Quebec is 362 miles of unpaved road through the taiga forests.
Most parts of eastern and northern Russia. Especially the taiga, a.k.a. The Other Green Lung of the Planet. There are thousands of kilometers of unpaved and badly-paved roads through the taiga forests, with settlements few and far between. And that's the settled area. Futher north, there are no roads, only directions. Evenkia and Western Yakutia, for example, have no permanent roads, only zimnik (seasonal roads that become available when mud freezes in winter).
While not as vast and sparsely populated as the East Siberian taiga, the Scandinavian and Russian taiga (which includes the central and northern parts of Sweden, Norway and Finland) definitely counts.
The Black Forest in southern Germany. Supposedly named because the tree covering is thick enough in some areas to kill all light.
Though most of these woods have been rather tame industrial forest for nearly a century. Wood was Finland's main export followed by paper, until consumer electronics were invented. But in the dead of winter it doesn't make much difference.
Even in an area like the Blue Ridge Mountains, with civilization relatively close by, it's deceptively easy to get lost if you're dumb enough to start wandering off the trail.
The Amazon Rainforest. Go in without a guide (preferrably a native) and it's a fair guess you won't make it out.
The Red Forest. So called due to the staining of the trees by a caesium isotope during the Chernobyl disaster. It actually has a higher incidence of mutation in its trees, leading to gigantism and albinism in the plants, leading to pretty surreal landscapes. Being hideously radioactive has ensured that exploration is few and far between.
The south-western corner of Tasmania is still pretty much uninhabited even today - and its World Heritage Zone listing bids fair to keep it that way. It's sufficiently densely forested and isolated that it's possible that thylacines still survive in it, and we'd never know...
We could probably list the entirety of southernNew Jersey, with the exception of Atlantic City. Driving down the Pine Barrens roads at night can easily give you the impression that you're somewhere in Lovecraft Country.
The pines have reclaimed several small towns. Wander through the wrong section of the barrens, and you might find bits and pieces of what used to be houses...
The contrast is probably more highlighted with Jersey's usual depiction in media as an industrial Place Worse Than Death. You think nature's going to save you now?