Monday, September 15, 2008

magic muSHROOMS

I'm actually rather shocked no one thought of this concept before for a horror movie.
(If anyone did, let me know - I'm not aware of it)
Shrooms (2007), which in itself is a silly title, is an interesting little piece of film.
I cannot say I didn't like it. But I really wouldn't recommend it for an Oscar (or even a Chainsaw Award!)...
I do like the movie poster though - it rocks.
Shrooms involves a group of college students (of course!) who are off on a trip to Ireland (because all students have money lying around for intercontinental flights and vacations!) to meet up with a mutual friend of theirs who lives there (how convienient!) and knows all the 'good places' where psychedelic mushrooms grow.

Yeah, like I'd fly to Ireland to eat mushrooms. Right.

So.... the heroine (?) of the film is Tara (Lindsey Haun), who looks alot like that Veronica Mars chick whose name escapes me at the moment. She has the hots for Irishman Jake (Jack Huston), and I do too!

Looks like a younger Johnny Depp... yummy.
Ok, I might fly to Ireland to eat mushrooms...

Forgive me, I digress...

Tara and her friends (two guys, two gals - how sweet!) meet up with Jake and begin their adventure to the realms of the unknown. They head off a dark forest path (is there any other kind?) and set up camp.

While carelessly exploring the forest for hallucinogenic fungus, they stupidly split up.

Yeah, like I'd wander off in a remote forest area in a foreign country. Anyway...

Tara is kinda down and out because though she flew thousands of miles to see Jake, he really hasn't made much of a fuss over her.. so, unbelieveably, she eats a mushroom she thinks is the kind they are looking for. I guess she thinks if she is tripped out enough, Jake will want to have sex with her. I'm thinkin' she should have just straight-out asked him. Duh.
But while she was off galavanting on her own, Jake was warning the others again to make sure they differentiate between the safe fungi and the 'deathcap mushroom', which looks frighteningly similar. I think you can see where this is going.

Simply put, Tara eats the wrong one.

A side note -
Deathcap mushrooms are an actual poisonous mushroom:

It is native to Europe, and is at least found in Ireland, so that part of the story rings true.
Half of a mushroom cap is enough to kill you.
Apparently they taste fairly decent - probably why people die from eating them, they cannot tell there is anything wrong. At first. Till all your body systems start failing...

However, the shroom she ate in the movie looked like this:

Now, if you're thinking this is just a medical mystery-type of horror movie, you'd be mistaken. There is alot more going on.

After Tara ingests the mushroom but AMAZINGLY does not perish, she begins to have delusions, funky dreams, and can apparently see the future in frightening visions.
She is resting in her tent while the others sit around the campfire and Jake tells a story (now there'd have to be a story, wouldn't there?) about the abandoned children's home nearby in which a sadistic monk caretaker ate a stew with the deadly shrooms (that would kill anyone else)and proceeds to murder all the children in a ghastly manner - all but one child, a boy who was banished to the dog pen for unruly acts. Supposedly, the monk and this boy are still roaming the forest.
Tara progresses on with her freaky trip and sees all of her friends being slaughtered, one by one.

So there is alot of tripping out going on, weird visuals and the movie itself is just dark. I mean the lighting is nearly non-existent. But that didn't really bother me, it added to the creepy atmosphere of the film. There is also what one would call a surprise ending, but it left me a little flat, like I'd seen it somewhere before. Perhaps because I have.

Like it's vacation-oriented bedfellows, Turistas and The Ruins, Shrooms is rather a poster-child for 'what not to do on vacation'. The fact that these idiots actually don't take their cell phones into the forest with them (in case someone is tripping really bad and imagines things that aren't there and calls the cops or their parents, etc...) is pure lunacy. It would have been much more likely for them to take the phones but not get any damn service deep in the woods.
I should add that in addition to the over-used 'abandoned house on the hill' concept, they have thrown in a few freaky inbred people and a talking cow (seriously!) in this movie. Make what you will of that.
So I guess I would recommend Shrooms, as I have to admit I did enjoy it - if for no other reason than Jack Huston! I suppose guys would like the female stars and their cleavage.
It is a "watch instantly" movie on Netflix, so if you have that service, take advantage of it.

*In all honesty, even though I like mushrooms, I feel they are much too representative of the phallic symbol, and I would not be able to pick them anywhere without laughing.

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