A horror movie called Shrooms sounds like what you would watch at a sleepover in high school. This should be the kind of movie that gains cult status like The Evil Dead. If not, it should at least achieve some level of fondness amongst genre fans like Deathgasm or Zombeavers. And even if Shrooms wanted to be taken seriously, horror and hallucinogenic drugs go together quite well. Trippy horror – think Mandy or Jacob’s Ladder – has always endeared itself to the fringes of horror. With Saint Patrick’s Day around the corner, now seems like a good time to re-visit this Irish, drug-infused horror outing. But does the lack of familiarity of its title suggest that this is just a bad slasher retread not worth re-visiting? Or is it another Saint Paddy’s guilty pleasure horror treat, like Leprechaun?
Looking to score a ‘once in a lifetime psychedelic trip’, several young Americans travel to Ireland in search of the best psilocybin mushrooms. But when Tara tries a death bell mushroom and experiences a ‘bad trip’, the vacation goes sideways. Soon a mysterious figure in the Irish countryside appears, stalking the American tourists. As nightmarish visions haunt Tara, her friends quickly find themselves in a fight for survival.
Shrooms Promises One Movie, Delivers Something Else
Are there really no quality hallucinogenic mushrooms in America? Maybe I’m a bit out of touch, but Shrooms boasts a pretty flimsy premise. Flimsy or otherwise, it wouldn’t have mattered had Shrooms been a ridiculously funny, over-the-top gorefest. Sadly, Irish director Paddy Breathnach’s slasher is neither of those things. The movie’s iMDB page lists it as a horror-comedy. According to Wikipedia, Shrooms is a psychological horror movie. Too bad this movie is neither funny nor particularly psychological. What viewers can expect is a pretty rote slasher movie that never effectively uses its hallucinogenic component. On the one hand, Breathnatch puts together a pretty nice-looking horror movie. Nothing about the production quality betrays the relatively low budget. Just don’t expect much in the way of innovation. That is, Breathnatch never fully exploits the concept to put something vividly against the grain on screen.
What viewers can expect is a pretty rote slasher movie that never effectively uses its hallucinogenic component
Even with a character named ‘Bluto’, Shrooms puts no effort into being fun. Writer Pearse Elliott’s screenplay takes all the least interesting slasher tropes, casts aside the fun parts, and what’s left is 86 minutes of strained horror that still feels too long. Some horror fans may buy Shrooms’ bait-and-switch with its Gaelic version of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. More seasoned horror fans will call the twist pretty early on. In all fairness, everyone enjoys a good twist. but Shrooms delivers the kind of twist that only works if accompanied by extensive explanatory flashbacks. And the twist still manages to be dull and predictable.
Shrooms Overestimates Just How ‘Psychological’ It Is As a Horror Movie
Try as it may, Shrooms never comes close to being the psychological horror movie to which it so clearly aspires. Again, I point out that this is a movie that has a character named, ‘Bluto’. In the absence of any narrative depth and scares, Shrooms could have at least upped the ante on the slasher gore. Yet even that part of the slasher formula is missing. Most of the deaths either occur off screen or can’t be clearly seen. With little atmosphere, no real scares, and a lot plot contrivances, Shrooms is watchable, but mostly pointless.
And you can’t blame the rest of the cast for a screenplay that lacks subtly and suspense.
In terms of its performances, Shrooms can at least say it’s not plagued by bad performances. No one’s winning any Oscars here, but there isn’t a performance that makes the movie unwatchable. In fact, Lindsey Haun (Village of the Damned) acquits herself quite well. And you can’t blame the rest of the cast for a screenplay that lacks subtly and suspense. If you can’t figure out who lives and who dies in the first 10 minutes or so, you haven’t watch many horror movies. Like the rest of the movie, the characters are nothing if not generic.
Shrooms Wastes a Perfectly Stupid Idea on a Tedious Movie
Does it make sense that young Americans would travel all the way to Ireland just to do some mushrooms? No. Unless I’m too old and out of touch, I would assume that Irish beer would be the biggest draw. Regardless Shrooms had the opportunity to spin the kind of dumb story that made movies like Dead and Breakfast or Zombeavers so much fun. Instead Shrooms is a pointless, derivative slag of a movie. Be forewarned that despite being labelled as a horror-comedy, Shrooms is not funny. What’s particularly odd about the movie is that it makes no attempt to be funny. This is a movie that has been completely mislabeled, taking itself far too seriously. The end result is an uninspired rehash of the slasher format best passing over.