Written by contributing author and editor: Missy
Have you ever had a really bad trip? Well it’s nothing compared to the death-inducing one Tara has in Shrooms. Tara arrives in Ireland with 2 couples expecting a vacation to remember. They are picked up by their local friend Jake, who Tara is clearly interested in. The six friends load up Jake’s van and head to an isolated wooded area. The plan is to search for hallucinogenic mushrooms that they will consume. Jake explains that they are looking for mushrooms with a nipple on top and the group splits up (of course) to start gathering the shrooms. Jake and a few of the others find a mushroom that looks right except for the fact that the nipple on top is black. Jake warns them that this is the Death’s Head shroom that can result in death if ingested. He runs to warn the others but by the time he finds Tara she has already eaten a Death’s Head shroom. He finds her convulsing on the ground but she lives through the initial shock and Jake explains that she will be fine although the trip she will experience could be severe. Legend has it that these shrooms open the door to another dimension and a person experiences shape shifting, connection to the dead, and premonitions. Basically we know shit is about to get real for Tara.
As Tara lies in the tent trying to sleep the rest of the crew sits around a fire. Jake starts to tell them about a group of demented Christian missionaries named the Black Knights who ran a children’s offender center in that area. The most malevolent was The Banshee who beat the children with a 3 inch blade attached to a stick and would hang them if they disobeyed. One day a pair of twins defied him so he disfigured one and hung the other twin while the brother was forced to watch. Nicknamed The Lonely Twin, the surviving brother sought revenge by putting 3 pounds of Death’s Head shrooms in The Banshee’s soup but unfortunately the sadistic knight did not die but instead slaughtered 78 people at the home. The bodies of The Banshee and Lonely Twin were never found. This campfire story sets up the rest of the film. Tara begins to trip and see premonitions of death while the others are tripping on normal mushrooms and one by one they begin to die as reality and hallucination become indiscernible.
Although this film has not received great reviews, I personally found it very entertaining. The story is interesting and I thought the use of hallucinogenic drugs was a clever way to force the viewer to decide between what is real and what is not. The conclusion might be fairly obvious to a horror connoisseur, but there are still some intriguing elements and twists that will make you question your theory. The filming is visually appealing and director Paddy Breathnach does a great job making each death scene look and feel different, at times evoking the aura of films like Cabin Fever and Evil Dead (2013). There is a clip with a talking cow that I found particularly beautiful and quite amusing. The image of a talking cow with a major attitude telling somebody they are ‘dead fucked’ is pretty genius. The actors do a fine job and I have definitely seen worse. The characters are pretty one dimensional but with the action starting pretty much from the get go; delving deeper into each character would seem out of place and probably boring. This is horror people, beggars can’t be choosers. Shrooms wont terrify or shock you but it is definitely a fun movie worth watching that may have you questioning your desire to try hallucinogenic drugs.
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