Review by Jack Foley
IRISH filmmaker Paddy Breathnach rips off everything from The Blair Witch Project to The Hole in his run-of-the-mill horror flick that delivers a totally unsavoury experience from start to finish.
When five American college students arrive in Ireland to go on a camping trip and smoke some ‘shrooms with their old college buddy Jake, they quickly find themselves being hunted by an unseen terror.
But as they try to discover whether it’s the legacy of an abusive monk or the work of the local forest inbreds, the body count quickly mounts.
To make matters worse, one of the group – good girl Tara (Lindsey Haun) – is suffering from the effects of a ‘death cap’ mushroom she has unwittingly ingested and has the power to see which of her colleagues is destined to die next.
Shrooms very much feels like a low-budget affair but fails to rise above such limitations in the same way as The Blair Witch or The Texas Chainsaw Massacre did. Rather, it’s content to rely on formulaic horror devices and ropey actors (Rob Hoffman’s Bluto and Maya Hazen’s Lisa fare particularly badly).
Breathnach attempts to prolong things by deliberately blurring the line between Tara’s premonitions and reality, but rather than delivering anything really unnerving he merely succeeds in testing our patience with repetitive sequences.
And he also fails to provide audiences with a single character worth caring about, thereby reducing the film to a tedious countdown to slaughter.
His biggest crime, however, is not so much in the poor execution of proceedings but rather in thinking the film is much more clever than it really is. The “surprise” ending merely confirms what you’ve been suspecting all along and only serves to underline the pointlessness of the film as a whole.
Running time: 84mins
UK DVD Release: May 5, 2008