Saturday, March 21, 2009

Shrooms, ramblomatic.

Ah, Ireland, home of Guinness, folk music and leprechauns and, according to Shrooms, the highest percentage of serial killers per square mile in the world, except not really, I'm getting to that. The plot in Shrooms is quite standard, five american students, a jock, a stoner, their respective girlfriends and a blonde, innocent motherly type go to Ireland to get high on mushrooms together with their guide and final girl-bait du jour. So, to find the legendary shrooms, they head out to the mostly untouched wilderness in close proximity to an old orphanage. Needless to say, this being a horror movie and all, things go bad and people start dying.

Since the movie is centered around the LSD-like high of hallucinogenic mushrooms, the visuals occasionally flick from standard slasher fare to semi-trippy. Not so much as one could wish though, it's almost so that I wish that a more skilled cinematographer would seize this concept by the hair and make us feel a part of the trip, sort of like in Natural Born Killers or Crank, or something along those lines. Unsurprisingly, bold use of visuals have never been medium-budgeted horror movie makers' forte, but I digress, it doesn't exactly harm the movie all that much, it'd just be cooler with it.

Now, on the kills, the movie departs a bit from usual slasher fare. Although the build-up is as one might expect, people go off alone, people ask “is any one there,” people hear a twig snap, the pay-off isn't nearly as bloody as it often is, in fact, the very definite moment of snuffing the poor blokes and lasses out is omitted, as to make their final fate just a smidge ambiguous until their corpses pops up in someone's tea. I wouldn't say this hampers the movie all that much, seeing as gory fatalities seldom manage to impress any more anyway.

Acting-wise there isn't all that much to say. People carry the idiot ball with remarkable pride and try their best to sound genuinely scared shitless in take after take. The movies final girl might be a bit of a weak spot, seeing as her emotional capacity seems to hover around the twilight zone of acting that I will refer to as the “Kenau Reeves-valley.” Of course, it kinda works, 'tis a slasher after all.

Now, on to what seems to be a mandatory element in modern slashers, the twist. In Shrooms, the twist actually works kind of well, mostly because it doesn't feel like something hyperactive writers added in the last minute to make their movie actually stand out from the sea of Friday 13th wannabees that has flooded the horror genre since Mrs. Voorees shortened the average life span for camp counsellors, I'm looking at YOU, All The Boys Love Mandy Lane. Sure, it does come into play in the very last bit of the movie, but it makes sense, and although it isn't hinted all that strongly to, you can look back and not run headfirst into a wall of sudden, unjustified logic or character changes,

All in all, I suppose Shrooms is a pretty decent slasher, and the twist is certainly not the worst. It won't change your life or make you afraid of the dark, but it can be nice, trippy fun.