Shrooms (DVD)

Shrooms, a horror film based on around a bunch of college kids who go to Ireland to find what are supposedly the best magic mushrooms in the world. But little do they know that the weirdness of the weekend will not be limited to their juvenile hallucinations, for there is a killer in their midst.

After they arrive the American holidaymakers are promptly treated to local tales of unnerving events during shroom season including, (gasp) stones mysteriously thrown through the air. Heavens forbid! But in order to set you up for the drawn out whodunnit that follows we are also told two more important facts: there is a mushroom that looks like the kind they want to eat but with a black spot which, when eaten, will either kill you instantly or give you magic premonitory powers and make you go crazy, and a myth about a local guy who went crazy and killed loads of people. Can you guess where this is going? I did pretty quickly, which isn't good.

The whole drug angle is, in addition to being an attempt to target the teenage/college kids to the film, ostensibly an excuse for some visual experimentation. Sadly the visuals are as lacklustre as the plot, which is really saying something about a film in which I guessed the ending a mere 15 minutes into this dire and unscary horror. The entire film, including the hallucinations, are shot through a depressing filter which makes everything look blue, (I have no idea why they this would be 'bleak' and 'eery' but someone should've realised it's just bloody annoying), and the warping and shadowing that occurs during hallucination is nothing we haven't seen in live action Disney films after a villain falls over and hazily beholds his captive escaping his evil clutches. The dialogue is clunky, unfunny and poorly acted. If any of you remember Brad Pitt's hilarious pikey accent in Snatch imagine taking that, crossing it with cockney, and delivering it with a straight face and you'll have the pitiful attempts made at the accent in this feature. Which is immensely surprising given that the filmmakers are Irish!

As if this wasn't enough to turn you away from the film, the whole film is largely played out in hallucinatory premonitions, which has two consequences: 1) We know what will happen before it happens, and we know when we're about to see something 'scary' because it's always introduced by a college girl falling over and looking panicked before she has a vision, (2) All of the 'scary'/gory bits have to be viewed in the aforementioned warped and shadowy format which detracts heavily from any fear factor and is clearly a cover-up for poor effects in a low-budget movie. In short, this film is barely worth watching once, let alone more times. I wouldn't buy this crap and I don't think you should

EXTRAS *** First up is a selection of deleted scenes and outtakes, although I couldn't tell them apart because the film is so stupid; a whole bunch of cast and crew interviews which are actually quite good if you liked the film; a director commentary which is mostly just waffle about what they were trying to achieve but just sound like excuses to me; and a behind the scenes making of featurette that nicely shows how they coped with the trials of a low-budget shoot in a tricky location.

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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