Friday, July 16, 2010

Review: Shrooms (2007)

Director: Paddy Breathnach
Starring: The talking cow mostly.

"No. Dead fucked."
-The Cow

Okay, a bunch of kids go into the woods intending to eat intoxicating mushrooms and have sex…that won’t end badly, now will it? This is Shrooms!

So we see our main character Tara, a blonde haired Catholic schoolgirl going out for her first time doing drugs with a bunch of sex maniacs. Although she denies it, she’s really going to see her kinda-sorta-boyfriend Jake, who she is too embarrassed to really get with. They drive up into a secluded spot of the woods, talking about sex and steroids and all sorts of the usual topics, and then they run over a dog with their car…don’t all good movies start like that?

Then they get to the clearing where they’ll be staying, and Jake makes them give up their cell phones before they do anything embarrassing with them while tripping. He hands the keys of the car to Bluto, a steroid freak and the only one who was reluctant to give up his phone because “it’s like handing away his freedom.” Pfft.

Well, there’s rule number one of what not to do when you’re out in the woods tripping with your friends.

#1: Never hand the keys to your car to the guy who will die first.

So Jake takes them all out to look for mushrooms, informing them not to take the Death’s Head shroom, which is rumored to have been used in the middle ages. He says that it inflicted horrible pain, boils and other unpleasant shit onto people, but if they survived, they could travel to other dimensions, talk to the dead and see the future. We cut to Tara, who is looking at Bluto and Lisa from behind a tree when she trips and falls right in front of one of those Death’s Head mushrooms, and eats it. She is then promptly saved by Jake, who uses CPR and cures her instantly, no apparent real danger at all. Only, ooh, she could see him saving her seconds before it happened!

Wait a minute, what? You just got done saying that it was the most extreme and painful trip out there, and all it takes to save somebody on it is a little CPR for a few seconds? Talk about exaggerations.

And another thing. The only thing Tara can do under the influence of this shroom is foresee the future. No talking to the dead and definitely no traveling to other dimensions, two things which might have made this movie cooler. I guess they didn’t have the budget for that stuff. Oh well. More wasted potential, surprised?

So we fast forward to nighttime, where Jake is telling a ghost story about a Catholic school in the area where a sadistic teacher abused the kids there and did terrible things to them. Until one night when a kid was pushed too far and slipped a bunch of Death’s Head mushrooms into his soup, causing him to go on a rampage and kill almost everyone at the school. And apparently now he comes out at shroom season to kill people and do other ghostly things…and the other kid is still there too…it’s a really vague story, but I guess since they’re all stoned, it’s an excuse. And…really? Telling a horror story? Yeah, that’s the kind of thing that people need to have in their heads when they’re already tripping on drugs and stranded in the woods with no cell phones! Truly this kid was an honor student in school. Somebody give him a fucking medal, man.

Then later, Holly and Troy are having shroom-sex when they see someone outside their tent moving around. So Troy goes out and gets into a fight with Bluto, and then Holly and Lisa shout insults at each other. Charming.

Then we get to see our first real mindfuck as Bluto the ‘roid-head wanders into the forest chasing  a hallucination of a beautiful woman, and stumbles upon a talking cow…yes, a talking cow, with a really deep, gravelly voice, too.

It tells him that he’s fucked, to which he replies “I know.” Then it says, “No. Dead-fucked.” He asks it which way the woman went, and the cow directs him thusly. It would be kind of cool if there were other instances of weird shit like this happening, but nope, this is the only time. But still, I have to give them credit for standing up against PETA’s iron fist and putting it in the movie against all odds. The time to stop worrying about the rights of trash-talking cows in movies is now! Rise up with me and protest the censorship of talking cows in movies! We will bring PETA down! Down, I tell you!

Ahem. He follows the hallucination of this hot naked girl to a car where she orally pleases him, but then…isn’t really there…and something else happens. It turns into some evil looking black shape, and eats his dick, I think? Then it gets out of the car and he, uh, dies, I guess…it’s really unclear, with terrible unfocused directing, and all we get are flashes that are supposed to be from Tara’s foresight or whatever.

And here is the second rule of what not to do when you’re out in the woods tripping with your friends.

#2: If you’re going to drag your friends out into the woods to start tripping, what’s the logic of doing it alone where all you are is afraid?

I mean…we never really see them doing any of that stuff they said they were going to do. It doesn’t seem like much fun if you’re just going to let people wander off into the woods without anyone else to help them! This movie so far is just a bunch of wandering alone with bad things happening, and frankly, it isn’t that exciting.

Yergh, so then we switch to a bright, happy morning where everyone is eating mushrooms by the lake and fishing. Apparently when Bluto disappeared, he cut off part of Lisa’s hair, which really makes her mad. But it doesn’t take long before they all split up again and get into trouble. They find Bluto’s body eventually, after Lisa and Holly call each other names and push each other some more…seriously, what is this, second grade? But then they see the scary black-hooded reaper in the woods, ooh! Except…he’s as scary as Count Chocula. Seriously, I don’t think I’ve seen a lamer movie killer in a long time. He just stumbles around like some kind of terrible 90s CGI abomination. That’s not scary. It’s just weak.

We have Holly looking for help from these two redneck hillbillies. And Lisa and Tara wander around in the woods and stumble upon her dead body as she was, again, killed off screen. Ugh, will you STOP DOING THAT? How are we supposed to be scared of this if nobody is ever killed on screen? Sure, they show you bits and pieces of it in Tara’s weird little foresight things, but that doesn’t count. And we don’t get any tits, either; what kind of a slasher movie is this? It’s like a slasher movie made by the PC squad; it’s as harmless as a rubber knife tip. Show us some gore, you goddamned pussies! If you’re not going to give us the psychological scares of a bad drug trip in the woods, at least show us some blood and gore and skin. That’s why we watch these movies!

But maybe they’ll fix that problem with the next one. Maybe they’ll show us a really good kill in the next one. I’ll just lay out what happens:

Tara tells Lisa that she (Tara) is the next to die, so Lisa runs away through the knee-high water like any good friend would, fearing death herself. Then in the very next scene, Tara has another brief two-second flash of Lisa being pulled under the water by something we can’t see, and she screams. Then, we go to the next scene, and nothing else of Lisa’s death is ever elaborated upon.

…you know what? Fuck it. Just fuck it. I’m going to speed through the end of this, and just get it over with, with no more deliberation or agonizing.

The rest of the movie is just Tara, Jake and Troy wandering around isolated, and jumping at everything that moves. They wander around in a hospital where Troy is killed with little fanfare, and then they end up outside again, where Jake is killed. Then we get the ending twist where it’s revealed that Tara killed them all and was really going crazy the entire time! Even though that makes so little sense that it’s absolutely insane, but I guess we’ll just go with it, since the movie needed an Edgy Twist at the end. Heinous.

So that’s Shrooms, and what can I even say about it? It’s just frustrating. It actually sounds pretty damn cool when you read the back cover summary, but really it never delivers. The kills are never shown, the characters get annoying fast and the plot is half-assed. I don’t hate this movie, but it’s really, really damn frustrating, and I can’t really recommend it. Skippable as hell.