Monday, July 21, 2014

Shrooms – Another Reason Not to go in the Woods

Runtime: 84 minutes
Release Date: November 23, 2007
Rating: NR
Director: Paddy Breathnach

The first time I saw Shrooms was when I had Netflix the first time, which was probably around 2008 or maybe 2009. I liked it so much that I gave it a four star rating and maybe even a five star rating. Every time I came across it somewhere else, I would stop and point out that I liked the film. While I still liked it after watching it recently, I didn't like it as fondly as I did in my mind.

Tara and some of her friends arrive in Ireland to hang out with their friend Jake. Jake previously studied at their college and had some kind of relationship with Tara. Though we never find out exactly what happened between them, it's clear that she still has a crush on him. They plan on camping in the woods by a former children's home and spending the weekends tripping on shrooms.

Jake gives them a quick primer on what to look for and what to avoid, warning them about the black deathcap mushrooms found in the woods. When the group splits off, Tara finds one of the deathcap shrooms and eats it. Though they find her and get her back to the camp, she has a major seizure and sees what will happen to them over the course of the weekend.

Later that night, Jake tells the group about the ghost stories that locals tell about the old children's home. Though everyone laughs it off, they also seem a little worried about spending the whole weekend away from civilization. It doesn't help that Jake takes all their phones and locks them in his glovebox to prevent them from freaking out on the shrooms and calling the cops. After one of the friends has a fight with his girlfriend, he drinks some of the tea made from the mushrooms, has a trip, imagines himself running into a man in a robe, and dies at the other man's hands. The remaining group members later find themselves running from a mysterious killer, but as they all drank the tea, there's no way of knowing what really happened and what is part of their trip.

Shrooms is never going to win a ton of awards or probably even acclaim from horror movie fans, but damn if it still isn't entertaining. One of the best moments occurs when Bluto, one of the jocks from the groups, hallucinates a talking cow in the middle of the woods. Not only does the cow warn him about going off on his own, but it gets the best line in the movie. When Bluto points out that the cow can talk, the cow responds in a deadpan voice, "that's cause you're outta your mind." How can you not love a horror movie that includes a talking cow?

On the second viewing, it took me about halfway through the movie before I remembered what happened in the end, which I consider a success. Far too many horror movies today are so one dimensional and predictable that you can almost guess the ending in the first few minutes. Shrooms just kind of pulled me into the movie and let me focus on the story and characters before I thought about the ending. That led to me making some weird, "oooh" sound and my roommate yelling at me not to ruin it for him.

Shrooms is a fun little movie that offers some nice distractions and a fun story. If you haven't seen it yet, jump on Netflix.

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