Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Shrooms (2007).

"I overdosed on the heroin of 'shrooms...!"
I had no interest in seeing Shrooms after hearing more than a few whispers about it being shit. However, my Dad bless his heart, picked the DVD up for me as present. He knows I love horror of any sort, even though he is very fussy about which sub genre he personally enjoys (no magic or supernatural elements, nothing too violent, he's more into tension than scares. The only horror film I know for certain we both love is Black Christmas). So I was touched he saw a horror DVD and thought of his little girl.

Therefore it was a duty to my love of my pa to watch this, rather than an expectation of it being any good. And of course, I reckoned either way I could get a blog entry out of it.

Well... it does suck! I shan't tell Dad just how much, but it really does. The film's messy (not gore, just poor execution of extremely derivative ideas), the characters are supremely annoying and the drug thing just alienated me even further, if I am honest.

Like a straight man going to see the Sex & the City movie, I realise that I am by no means the target audience here. The title alone tells me that this is going to be hur hur drugs based and as someone who has been there and done that (enough to satisfy my juvenile curiosity in any case) the whole drug-holiday thing immediately had me in my cynical hat, wishing these tossers would just crash their car on the way to the camp site. Credits roll. End of.

To you I may sound uptight about the whole thing, but think about it this way: this is a horror film first and foremost, the drugs being the sub-category. I should still be able to sit through this and enjoy the suspense, special effects, creative kills etc, right? Wrong.

It's flabby. Nothing much happens for ages to unlikeable characters. Even though nothing is happening in quite spooky surroundings...

...nothing is still happening. It's all just so clumsy and been done a million times before. Maybe not as much with the drug trip element, but the horny teens in the woods? YAWN. Please, please show me something, anything interesting!

Okay so plot: A group of American students meet their English friend in Ireland, go to an isolated woodland area, camp out and pick mushrooms. One of the bunch eats a variety that they were previously warned against, because it brings about dangerous hallucinations and unpredictable behaviour - that's if you survive the initial violent reaction from ingesting just one cap.

What follows is a cat and mouse chase through the woods; bathed in cold light we are subjected to many shaky camera angles and non-linear flashback/premonition/"false reality" trippy scenes. This is the most effective the film gets and in theory should work wonders. Everything is messed up and crazy, we don't know what the hell is going on and what is real, if anything. We the audience are feeling as thrown off balance as the characters, one step closer to being in their shoes and therefore one step closer to feeling their fear...

Sadly in practice it just doesn't work that way, and simply ends up being boring. Not even interesting enough to be frustrating.

The kills are only worthy of a mention in that they are confusingly presented, so sate absolutely no gorehound appetites for seeing these kids get dismembered nor do they really scare us, because we don't have much comprehension about what the fuck is going on. I understand that we have to keep with the disoriented vibe but for the love of god show me the guts spill! What's the point in me being here if it's all cutaway, too dark, fast-edited nonsense? The kindest word I can use for this film is "atmospheric".

So who is the killer? The accent-confused, cabin dwelling locals? The druggy know-it-all Englishman who has brought them all out into the middle of nowhere and who keeps alluding to his boarding school past? Someone else entirely? Whoever it is, they seem to make the same weird purring sound that the Predator does. Shit, maybe it is the Predator?!

I shan't spoil it because if you make it as far as the end you bloody well deserve a reward.

The most I gained from this was a respect for the actors for spending so much time rolling around so thoroughly in all that mud, water and shit. They must have spent most of the shoot soaked and freezing.

One final thing... would a male paramedic really say to a young girl under his care: "Nasty gash you got there." Really? Really?


  1. This is the one with the talking cow in it, right?

  2. I just want to make sure you know, that the effects of "'shrooms" (which, ugh, was already an awful enough nickname) in the movie are about as true to reality as everything else. Also the "Death's Head Fungi" they eat is not real. And the mushrooms they look for in the film are about the weakest species that there are.