Shrooms (2007)
By: James Gillett on May 27, 2009 | Comments
Icon (Australia). Region B, 1080P. 2:35:1 (16:9 Enhanced). English DD 5.1, English DD 2.0. 88 minutes
The Movie
Cover Art
Credits
Director: Paddy Breathnach
Starring: Lindsey Haun, Jack Huston, Max Kasch, Maya Hazen
Screenplay: Pearse Elliott
Country: Ireland/UK
External Links
Purchase IMDB YouTube
As you can probably guess, Shrooms is slang for what are commonly referred to as Magic Mushrooms, a type of mushroom usually ingested for its psychedelic effects. When I first heard about this new Irish horror film incorporating said mushrooms, I was intrigued to say the least.

When Shrooms begins, five bickering American students are visiting their college friend Jake in Ireland. After being led on a camping trip to find and take Shrooms, the group's goody-goody girl Tara mistakenly eats the wrong type: a rare and extremely dangerous Shroom said to cause seizures and death, or in some cases, the ability to commune with the dead and the gift of premonition. Pretty soon someone's missing and Tara's having disturbing visions. Is she really seeing the future of her friends getting slashed up? Or is she just on one nasty nightmare trip?

Shrooms basically operates as a J-horror/teen slasher pic hybrid, at least stylistically. Director Paddy Breathnach's idea was to mould the two sub-genres together, hopefully taking the best of both worlds. The trippy nature of the plot device allows for some good nightmarish set pieces. The element of the visions' uncertainty also adds a little something interesting to the film. Also worth a mention is the great Northern Ireland location. It's well captured in dark grey hues, adding a nice creepy atmosphere to the flick.

But not all is right on this trip. Problemo no. 1 is a script that feels a little bland considering the premise. It's a shame it never really comes close to getting the most out of its central idea. It's not for want of trying. The screenwriter, true to the director's intentions, seems determined to include as many popular horror elements as possible, and while we get everything but the horror kitchen sink, the impact is fairly minimal. We get teens in a secluded environment, creepy visions, inbred hillbillies, a feral kid, a hooded killer and a creepy child with a sack on his head. All potentially great horror elements in their own rights, but muddled together they seem wasted. As entertaining as it can be, the film ends up losing its way, particularly in the final third.

Jack Huston is good as the Irish Shrooms man Jake. He manages to be the closest thing to an interesting presence on screen. The rest of the cast mostly do what they can with generic roles. Lindsey Haun is ok as the sheltered blond Tara who really should check before eating up those tasty little Shrooms. Comic relief comes in the form of Max Kasch as a martial arts transfixed hippy making a damn fool of himself. It's a shame you won't really connect with any of these guys. The characters tend to be mostly uninteresting or annoying. At least the random talking cow is pretty amusing, even if it feels a little out of place.

Trivia Bits: Lindsey Haun was one of the freaky kids in John Carpenter's Village of the Dammed.
Video
Shrooms looks great in HD. Especially impressive is the amount of detail visible in the image. Strong contrast gives the film a three dimensional feel while the image appears free of edge enhancement. Despite the film's dark colour tones it looks great on Blu-ray, providing a noticeable improvement over the DVD version.
Audio
A choice of either Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround or Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo. Unfortunately there's no lossless track like HD Master Audio, but the precise and well balanced DD 5.1 does the job just fine.
Extra Features
First up is an Audio Commentary from director Paddy Breathnach, screenwriter Pearse Elliot and producer Paddy McDonald. It's fairly entertaining and informative for the most part. Unlike the rest of the extras it was present on the Region 4 DVD.

We also get a 17min Behind the Scenes featurette. It's really just a selection of random footage of the cast and crew making the film. It's interesting enough if you're into that sort of thing.

There's also 33 minutes of Interviews with the cast, director and producers. While they're all subjected to basically the same questions, the differing answers will probably keep you watching.

Also on offer is a bunch of Deleted and Alternative Scenes including a couple of Alternate Endings and some Bloopers. The deleted scenes are average but the alternate endings are surprisingly good. One of them might have been more effective than the original ending.

Finally we have the Theatrical Trailer also found on the region 4 DVD.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
Shrooms has plenty going for it; its 'Killer stalking hallucinating teens' premise mixed with its J-horror stylings sounds damn fine on paper - shame it doesn't completely come together on screen. Still, that's not to say it isn't worth a look. Hell, it's probably worth a rental just for the talking cow.

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