FEARNET Movie Review - Shrooms (2006)


Raise your hand if you've seen more than 25 horror movies in which a group of teens (or young adults) hit the highway (or the back roads) in search of a party (or a concert), only to cross paths with a killer (or a monster) before ending up as corpses (or meat). Heck, both my hands are raised ... which makes it hard to type.

Anyway, here's another one just like all the others. It's called Shrooms and I've seen it blurbed in British newspapers as "Blair Witch on Acid!" With all due respect to the critic who afforded the film such a strange compliment, Shrooms is more like "Blair Witch 2, stoned on weed." That's not to say it's a rotten little diversion -- lord knows you've suffered through much lamer versions of the exact same story -- but aside from a surprisingly slick directorial style and a few creative touches, there's just about nothing here you haven't seen before. And if you haven't figured out the ending by the 22-minute mark, I suspect you may be new to the horror game.

You want plot? Who needs it? A bunch of drug-lovin' (American) kids wander into an Irish forest, and their plan is this: To do shrooms. And probably drink and smoke weed and perhaps even smooch... But, as the title clearly indicates, "shrooms" is the operative noun here. (OK, it's a plural noun.) So get this: Someone starts hacking the shroom-munchers to pieces, but good. But whom looms to entomb the shroomers in a gloomy doom??

Suffice to say that if you've made it your life's goal to worship hallucinogenic mushrooms, then Shrooms is about to replace Altered States as your new favorite horror flick. For the more seasoned gorehounds, this semi-energetic Irish import will act as little more than a forgettable time-waster. Not rotten, certainly not great, and by no means unique. Still ... kinda fun, if only in spurts.

Director Paddy Breathnach brings a fairly schizophrenic vibe to his first horror flick: Jokes butt head with scares; dream sequences serve mainly to deflate the tension; several dialog scenes go on a lot longer than they need to. But then ... there's also a lush and lovely side to the movie. Cinematographer Nanu Segal gets the most from his picturesque locale; the director clearly has a great eye for isolated moments -- if not sustained chills; the cast is (for the most part) unexpectedly appealing...

So it's a mixed bag, essentially. Fans of the horror genre will appreciate the "leftover" stuff because it's presented in a relatively fresh package, but leftovers they remain, and no amount of bizarre dream sequences or simplistic drug humor can mask that powerfully familiar smell.