Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Review - Shrooms

I was optimistic about this film, as I thought it could be a big step forward for Irish cinema, alas, it is not. The producers wisely tried to engage the American market by funding a film about a group of travelling American teens. This is another of those teen slasher horror flicks from a genre that should have died in the eighties, a sure thing for the box office, perhaps, but it isn’t real horror, and it isn’t even any good.

They make the best of what appears to be a very low budget by shooting in some very atmospheric locations, with some interesting shots, and a well paced introduction but the characters are the same boring stereotypes I’ve seen a million times before, the jock, the slut, the blonde catholic girl with psychic inclinations. They are led by an English guy to some woods in the Irish countryside, where they pick and eat magic mushrooms, and learn that the woods are haunted by the ghosts of some catholic monks who ate some special mushrooms with black nipples which give them psychic power and immortality. Plausible? No. Entertaining? No.

The idea of a horror film based on hallucinations come to life intrigued me, but this was just a thinly veiled attack at Catholicism, containing some very negative portrayals of rural Irish communities. The monsters are essentially just men in black cloaks, so clich├ęd I nearly fell asleep. The special effects for the hallucination scenes feature some interesting blurring effects, but nothing that spectacular. The speeded up frame rate used in films like ‘The Ring’ was effective in the first few films I saw it used in, but it is tedious to see it used over and over in the numerous scenes in which the blonde catholic girl has psychic fits. The film ends with a twist that is obvious to anyone who has the ability to maintain concentration on something so mundane. I love horror, and psychedelic cinema, I thought this could be a brilliant union of the two genres, I was wrong. Avoid this film.

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