02 November 2015

SHROOMS/2007


This film is not a fantastic film, I'm sure by viewing most of the other "reviews" you can tell. But basically THE BOTTOM LINE IS this film is fantastic to watch if you're a teen (14-17?) sat [sic] at home with your mates, smoking some weed.

Connor K. on IMDB


When I began this new horror movie site the idea was to have a blog that focused on modern horror films and allow my sister Uranium Café site concentrate more on older films. I thought the film selections would be more adult and gory and I would have loads of sexy, disgusting vidcaps. That’s was really was I was hoping for when I downloaded Shrooms. I wanted some T&A and brutal mayhem. I just get in those moods once in awhile. I saw on Box Office Mojo that the film was not rated in the States and came with a warning. This sounded promising indeed. Well, I soon discovered the warning was about the use of drugs in the film and that sex and violence in the film would probably only get the film a PG-13 rating. I also saw these revealing stats while on Mojo:



The facts are there. The film on its opening weekend make a staggering $1,849. You could argue that it only played in four theaters but that only adds more one nail in its rotted coffin lid as far as I am concerned. The film was nominated for some awards held by the Irish Film and Television Awards. I am not sure what the significance of that is. What if a film won 1st place at the IFTA? Is that any sort of recommendation? Much less getting simply a nomination? Look this is the place that produced James Joyce and Ulysses okay. A "novel" that requires the use of hallucinogens to comprehend.


The story follows a group of Yankee college kids who go to all the way to Ireland to do magic mushrooms for the first time. Lat time I heard the US had psychedelic shrooms and even peyote. The group consists of three girls, the sweet virgin Tara (Lindsey huan), the sexy but angry bitch Lisa (Maya Hazen) and the hippy chick Holly (Alice Greczyn). The two guys are even more stereotyped. Troy (Max Kasch) is a stoner and looks like Jay from the Jay and Silent Bob team. His buddy, aptly named Bluto (Robert Hoffman) is a bonehead jock. They are all met by Tara’s potential beau Jake (Jack Huston) who talks to them about how to scramble their brains on mushrooms as if he were a university professor lecturing on Schopenhauer. They are all in awe of his drug abusing insights and wisdom.

Now where is a nice place to go drop some mind altering psychedelic shrooms so that everyone can feel nice and mellow and turn off the old mind, relax and float down stream? How about some place out in the middle of the boondocks that has a reputation for people being found butchered during shroom season. And to add to the soothing ambiance the area is populated by inbred Irish hillbillies that make the folk in Deliverance look like Harvard grads. And still more why not drop the damn event in the shadow of a deserted and infamous boy's reform school where the lads were tortured regularly by monks in black robes and hoods and where one night some guy was givien a pound or so of Death's Head mushrooms and chops up 78 of the kids. How could anything go wrong in this atmosphere while tripping away right?


The Death's Head mushroom concept is a problem for me. I did my share of dabbling with psychotropic substances back in my hippie days and so know a thing or two about the subject. Not as much as our hero Jake of course, but a little. In a scene sweet girl Tara, despite warnings from the always reassuring Jake that the mushroom can make your heart explode at worst and at least give you convulsions and make you see into the future at the least, decides to eat one on a whim. She has a reaction within seconds from one mushroom and the effects last for well into the next day. Well, until the end of the film anyway. The effects of the drug would take longer than that to become manifest nor would they last that long. Here is a site that states that the onset of poisoning by the Death's Head mushroom would take about 10 to 12 hours, not two seconds. And no mushroom can make you see the future. Of course this is a horror fantasy film so we go along with the ride.


Later that night Bluto has had it with getting blue balled by Lisa and so he goes out to the campfire (where earlier Jake soothed the group with vivid tales of the torture and slaughter at the boy’s reform school up ‘round the bend) and decides he will drink the entire brew of shroom tea that the group was going to share the next day. Jocks are always so selfish. Soon he is running around the woods talking to a cow and getting anonymous blow jobs from “doggers” from inside their cars. Well the movie went from sort of absurd to simply bad when Bluto gets castrated in the woods. Castration is not scary or even disturbing. It is disturbing in that it occurs so often in horror films anymore I guess but not in any moral since that it is totally wrong to rip some jock's balls off. Nothing really wrong with that I guess. It is simply a lame gimmick that may appeal to a few psychotic females and not to too many others. Genitalia mutilation belongs to the low end Last House on the Left exploitation type films. After this scene I decided the film was a loser but finished it anyway. I had to do the review after all.


While the direction by Paddy Breathnach is okay he is not given much in the way of a script to work with. The hallucination scenes are well done as is most of the photography. At times it has that grainy, jerky heavy metal effect that works well for a few minutes but not for an hour and a half, but he has some talent behind the camera. The problem for me is that all the murders really happen off camera. There is simply no real violence or gore. We see people covered in blood but never see the blood being drawn from them by an ax, knife or blunt instrument. We are treated to an over load at times of visual and audio effects and this can be explained as part of the trip they are all on. I have seen horror films where this visual/audio explosion goes on and on and there seems no logical explanation for it. At least here we can write it off as the hallucinations of the freaked out kids. They are all wind up disoriented in the primeval woods running from the drooling Irish rednecks as well as from black robed monk apparitions. They need a plan. Leave that to leader-guru Jake. Best thing to do is have the surviving members all meet at the proverbial dark house of blood and murder and formulate a plan there while still tripping on mushrooms. Not a good idea Jake. Really.

In the final scene, that some people actually praised as a “great twist”, we find Tara being driven away in an ambulance as the attendant starts telling her about his family and how they all want to find a place in the country to live. Okay, in any film when some guys starts showing pictures of his wife or girlfriend and talking about plans for the future what do we know is going to happen next? Right. It winds up that sweet little Tara took one single Death's Head mushroom and it drove her into such a state that she killed all her friends one by one and now kills the sentimental ambulance attendant. Happens everyday as we know, One shroom. One kill.

I could have accepted some of this lame excuse for a horror film had there been more violent deaths and a little more skin or underwear. Okay Bluto did wander around in his boxers but not what I mean. What in the hell did I begin this new blog for? Is this what new horror is about? And I now refer back to the quote from Connor K. that opens my review. I am sorry, but 99% of the movie watching world want a film that appeals to someone with a little more cerebral capability than a stoned fourteen year old. Should fourteen year olds even be getting stoned? But sadly I have to agree with Connor K. here. That is about the scope of the market niche for this one. Stoned adolescents. I mercifully give it two skulls because of Paddy Breathnach’s noble attempts to do something with this mess of a script but that still did not help much.


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