Shrooms (Paddy Breathnach)
It’s quite common for a group of people, from their teens all the way to their thirties (and beyond) to take trips to the mountains with a bag of schrooms as an escape from reality. Traveling 5,000 miles to Ireland to do the same thing, like the five, wacky college kids do in “Shrooms,” is just the beginning of a plot that stands on shaky ground for most of this film.
Let’s just say that this is a logical pursuit, and that the lead character, the good Catholic girl Tara (Lindsey Haun), really does have to travel that far away from her overbearing father to have an adventure. What led her to the forests of Ireland was her summer fling, Jake, who is from the emerald colored country, and invites her and their mutual college friends to join him for this trip to the wild side.
The double entendre of the film’s tagline, “Get Ready to Get Wasted,” wasn’t the only groaner when it came the writing, especially at the beginning of the film. As the story unfolds, Tara unknowingly takes the “heroin” of mushrooms, which can be fatal. She of course is chomping down on the little fungus as Jake is in another part of the woods, giving this education to the other two girls, Holly (Alice Greczyn) and Lisa (Maya Hazen). Sure enough, she goes into convulsions, and Jake finds her just in time to give her mouth-to-mouth and bring her back. The legend is: one who survives after eating this type of mushroom will not only take that hallucinogenic trip of a lifetime, but will have premonitions and heightened awareness, among other talents.
Although his pseudo girlfriend nearly dies, the thought of taking her to the hospital never enters anyone’s mind. Yes, I know. Then the movie would be over. Instead, they all decide to start tripping, and Tara decides to sleep. For anyone who’s taken schrooms, they’ll know how impossible that is to do while the colourful chemicals are still in the system. But this is a movie, so in this case, she begins her crystal ball journey through her dreams.
The rest decide to sleep as well, and as Troy (Max Kasch) and Holly are making out in their tent, she sees a shadow of a person walking outside the tent. She freaks, and her boyfriend assures her that’s she be straight trippin’ boo. Then he sees the same thing, and calls out Bluto (Rob Hoffman), the boyfriend of Lisa, and that couple emerges from the tent. The boys get into a fight, and Tara runs out to break things up, but before she can, Bluto (the “jock” character of the group who takes steroids and wears a set of bling rings he must have gotten from the Flavor Flav fan club) knocks Troy in the nose.
Tara’s response? “I knew he was going to get hurt! I knew he was going to get hurt!”
Fortunately, the daylight comes and that’s when things get interesting. Aside from the typical girl running from killer, girl falling again and again, the cinematography and color scheme used in the middle portion of the film actually works quite well to get you pulled into the film. Even in daylight, the dark greens and the density of the forest becomes its own character, where things can appear out of no where. The acting wasn’t half bad either, and they were all quite convincing in their fear/tripping on drugs combo.
Where horror films really succeed is when the characters act in a way that your average person would, like wait outside the creepy house for their friends and not inside the storeroom where the previous carnage took place. And even when they follow the most logical path to freedom, it’s still not enough, and they’re overtaken by whatever demon is starring in said horror film.
I have to give credit to the “Shrooms” ending twist, which make the last two minutes of the film probably the most enjoyable of the 84 minutes. I can’t say anything other than, “wait for it…wait for it…”