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3 couples go to Ireland woods to collect magic mushrooms and trip out. On their way they meet some strange inhabitants of the woods and it doesn't take long until a creepy story is being told at the campfire which might be more than just a story. So strange things happen, people start disappearing, silhouettes move through the woods and the creepy story starts to melt into reality. The horror kicks in along with the effect of the mushrooms. Written by
I am not surprised by the polarized opinions regarding this movie, although I do think there is a lot of overreaction.
Shrooms is simply a decent little movie that seems promising when you first begin to watch it, thanks in great part to solid direction tricks. However, eventually it fails to deliver because of a very, very weak story and a failed attempt at defying genres.
When you first start to watch, the movie grabs your attention with what seems like good characters and the remote set is also well showcased. You get some threads of character development and the story flows quickly to introduce the mood thanks to a character recounting a legend and one character consuming mushrooms.
Unfortunately, it's at this point that the movie starts going in all directions. Many reviewers seem offended that the movie didn't deliver a given experience which seems to be due to their expectations that this movie would follow a specific formula. Be it a "classic horror tale" or a slasher flick or gore movie. While movie fans would be wise not to make so many assumptions, one must admit there was a failure here by director Breathnach to develop a coherent mood and story.
For instance, the character development in this movie leads absolutely nowhere. In fact, many movies which do *not* rely on effective character development other than as a side-dish actually fare better than Shrooms. Yet we can't help but think it was sorely needed here. As well, the movie flirts between psychological horror, action horror and supernatural horror without ever hitting the marks. One can blend ANY genres if it is done effectively. But a mediocre story is much better off sticking to a proved formula.
One other fault of this movie is its derivative nature, borrowing tricks from a great many flicks such as Deliverance, Blair Witch and too many slasher flicks to name.
Finally, I have no idea if the director attempted a "plot twist" or not but I could see the plot twist almost as the seed was planted. I kept hoping there would be more to it, that it would be misdirection of some kind or that it would be made more explicit but no. The ending offers flashbacks explaining what happened, as if the audience wouldn't be aware of that! So what about the good? Well, the direction is really tight and some scenes, particularly early on, are effective at offering tensed moments. Lindsey Haun is also convincing as Tara. The rest of the cast is really forgettable. None of them are noticeably weak with the exception of Robert Hoffman, who really looked like he didn't belong.
I am left wondering if the editing is at fault here. Was a decision made to cut 30, 45 minutes of this movie that might have made it a great film? I certainly think this is possible. Almost none of the scenes felt boring. It just felt like an incomplete experience. Existential horror turned into classic slasher/survival movie midway into production.
Director Paddy Breathnach, who is more familiar with edgy comedies, is a welcome breath of fresh air compared to the very boring, repetitive directors who focus on the horror genre. But the screenplay by Pearse Elliott is at fault here.
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