Shrooms (2007)

Shrooms (2007)

Get ready to get wasted

A group of friends travel to a remote part of Ireland in order to try some special magic mushrooms which apparently provide the ultimate drug trip. However one of the girls eats the wrong type of mushroom and she begins to premonitions about her friends dying. But how can she tell what is a hallucination and what is reality?

 

Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. Another derivative ‘people get killed in the woods’ horror flick, Shrooms promises a lot more than it delivers. They’ve simply taken a clichéd plot about a group of teenagers being killed off one-at-a-time and added drugs to the mix to try and throw you off the well-beaten path so often tread by similar horrors. Well it doesn’t work because at its heart, Shrooms is a rather tepid mix of ideas lifted from superior films. Spot the bits of The Blair Witch Project and Deliverance to name a few. The magic mushroom idea seems tacked on for novelty value.

The age-old horror adage of any combination of sex/alcohol/drugs comes to the fore here big time with the tripped-out characters meeting their demises at the hands of something sinister in the woods. There’s a permanent blurring between the borders of reality and imagination once the friends have taken the mushrooms so be prepared for lots of ‘is it real or isn’t it?’ moments where characters think one thing is happening only for them to suddenly realise it’s just in their minds and vice versa. The film overworks this gimmick so after a while, you don’t care whether what is happening is real or not because you can’t be bothered waiting for the rug to be pulled out from underneath you again. Why should we have to invest ourselves in the film if it’s going to keep screwing around with us for no reason? It’s a lazy trick to combat the lack of true scares and it’s repeated too much throughout the running time.

The film also relies way too heavily on a twist ending that anyone should be able to see coming a mile away. The set-up is obvious and the execution of the twist is just as lifeless. This twist also renders most of the film irrelevant by discarding a lot of the supernatural elements that had been thrown around as red herrings. It’s the sort of ending that smacks of desperation because the writers didn’t know how to end it properly and in line with the rest of the film.

On the flip side, a lot of the cinematography is good and the remote woods setting is used to create some great imagery. This really does seem like a place you wouldn’t want to get stuck in. It’s dark and dank, devoid of colour and looks like something out of a nightmare. Unfortunately there’s not much substance to go with the style and the cinematography is wasted with a lack of true scares or atmosphere. The pacing of the film is pretty lousy too and it takes a long time to get into gear. A little less time on the mushroom taking and little more time spent on the scaring and stalking wouldn’t have gone amiss. The film isn’t high on gore with most of the kills happening off-screen. This is fine by me because at least it doesn’t resort to torture porn levels of shock-horror tactics to scare the audience. Too many films nowadays rely on blood as if it’s the only way to shock the viewer. However those of you weaned on such films may find the lack of the red stuff a tad disappointing.

The cast aren’t too bad in their roles, particularly the two leads Lindsey Haun and Jack Huston but the entire cast of characters aren’t done any favours with a script which will leave you scratching your head at times. I’m sure the Irish will love the inclusion of two hillbilly-style woodsmen who talk with a thick accent and describe what they like doing with animals. The script might as well have thrown in a pint of Guinness or a leprechaun for good measure.

 

What could have been a great drug-fuelled nightmare turns into a tedious and repetitive affair. Shrooms will most likely force viewers into tripping out on magic mushrooms in order to stay awake, which may have been the sole purpose of the film. I guess spaced-out viewers may get the film a little more than I did.

 

 ★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

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