STUDIO: Magnolia
MSRP: $16.99
RATED: Unrated
RUNNING TIME: 84 minutes

  • Alternate and deleted scenes
  • Bloopers
  • Commentary by director Paddy Breathnach, writer Pearse Elliott and producer Paddy McDonald

The Pitch

Get ready to get wasted.

The Humans

Lindsey Haun, Jack Huston, Max Kasch, Maya Hazen, Alice Greczyn, Don Wycherly, Sean McGinley, Robert Hoffman.

Yeah, you’d freak too if you dropped your shrooms in the water before you got a chance to use ’em.

The Nutshell

When five American kids journey to Ireland to go on a woodland shroom trip courtesy of their Irish friend, Jake, they get more than they bargained for when some inhabitants of the woods decide to get their own natural high by killing them one by one. Or is it all just a bad trip?

Human: “Man, these are some f&%ked up shrooms to make see a talking cow.”
Cow: “How do you know that I’m not the one on shrooms and you’re in my bad trip?”
Human: “Whoa, I never considered that…”

The Lowdown

Pardon the obvious pun, but this movie is trippy. Although borrowing copiously from a myriad of films including Blair Witch Project, any of the numerous inbred mutant woodland slasher flicks, and even Session 9, Shrooms is nonetheless a pretty entertaining little frightfest with a new twist on the psychological and slasher genres.The backbone of the premise of this movie is one thing: is everything that’s going on really happening or is it just in the characters’ heads? Are they really getting offed one by one or are they on the mother of all shroom trips? If they are getting killed, who’s doing it? There’s a lot of shady-looking characters running around: a monk in a black cloak, a twin in the potato sack, the feral kid, and a couple of backwoods Deliverance-type gents.

A typical waking visual for Britney Spears…

Five American friends journey to Ireland to reunite with their local buddy, Jake (Huston), who has promised to take them a mushroom-fueled romp in the Irish woods. Four of the friends:Troy (Lasch), a stoner and Holly (Greczyn), and Bluto (Hoffman), a roided up jock and Lisa (Hazen) are couples. The fifth, Tara (Haun) is looking to reunite with Jake, with whom she shared a brief summer romance. Once they’re in the woods, Tara mistakes the magic mushrooms they’re supposed to take with a sometimes-lethal deathcap shroom and almost dies. The effects of the toadstool are said to bring about supernatural abilities, including being able to commune with the dead and have premonitions of the future, and generally tweak your mellon like no other shroom. Tara can attest to this as she’s disturbed by terrible visions of death and mayhem involving her friends.

Caption A: Nice to see Palpatine still getting some work.
Caption B: Submitted for your approval: Overlord’s new avatar.

Jake regales them with the story about the horrors committed at a local juvenile center where dozens of people died at the hands of a mushroom-induced killing spree by the caretaker monks. There were several survivors, including a “Black Brother”, one of the monks in a black cloak. There’s also a twin boy who wears a bag over his head after being burned by one of the monks, and a feral boy who was made to live among the dogs of the institution. They’re all said to still wander the woods, committing further acts of atrocity, the least of which is murder. Eventually, the rest of the group take the regular mushrooms and start tripping fiercely. And when they do, they also start getting murdered one by one by the various legends of the woods…supposedly.

Now this is what’s known a really bad trip…shrooms or no.

Irish filmmaker Paddy Breathnach establishes the situation well and aside from some of the cookie-cutter characters and a couple of ho-hum deaths, the film doesn’t suffer from a lack of dread nor stylish visuals, although there are more than a few overused jump scares. He does meld the slasher and psychological thrillers fairly well, and the narrative POV through a shroom haze is a nicely added element. This coupled with the myriad of killer possibilities keeps you wondering who’s going to get it next and from whom. Breathnach keeps the question of are the kids tripping or are they really victims of some former woodland institution miscreants going throughout the film, and you’re never really quite sure if what you’re seeing is what you’re seeing.

The resolution of these questions is a nice twist at the end that I doubt you’ll see coming. This movie was made almost two years ago, and I don’t know if it sat, but I thought it almost might have even been theatrical-worthy with a few tweaks, especially if you took shrooms to the theatre.

It figures that Andy Dick would have a cameo…

The Package

First of all, the cover art and the tagline for this movie rule. Shrooms is shot with a variety of washed out and psychedelic visuals with multiple POVs that look good in anamorphic 2.35:1. The variety of characters doing the supposed killing is also a nice change from the one killer formula.  Despite the Dolby 5.1, however, the sound is a bit low in many places and unfortunately the only subtitles are in Spanish. There are several deleted scenes, alternate scenes, bloopers and a couple of alternate endings, one of which was a shade better than the final ending. A feature commentary from the director, writer and producer round out the offerings. This is a pretty solid disc.

7.5 out of 10