Directed by: Paddy Breathnach | 80 minutes | horror | Actors: Lindsey Haun, Jack Huston, Max Kasch, Maya Hazen, Alice Greczyn, Robert Hoffman, Don Wycherley, Sean McGinley, Toby Sedgwick, André Pollack, Jack Gleeson, Mike Carbery, Anna Tikhonova, Goranna McDonald, Jake Allen, Berry Murphy, Joe Murphy, Joe Phelan, Peter McMahon, Thomas Creighton
´… according to the ancient Irish druids… it was like a border to another dimension…. they gave the ability to communicate with the dead… uncontrollable ferocity… shapeshifting… foresight… ´. These are the effects that the mushrooms in the Irish forests can bring about and also what the six-person American tour group travels to Ireland in this film. And a little viewer will soon sense that the necessary calamity is bound to happen. Indeed: in the remote Irish forests, the six bump into two ragged rednecks, all sorts of bad stories are told by the campfire, the female protagonist Tara eats mushrooms and has all kinds of hallucinations, and at night someone turns out to be walking past the tents. to sneak the company. These are promising and worrying things that speak volumes about the further developments in this story.
At the same time, however, the cliché nature of this is also striking. Similar principles have been used in many other horror films. That in itself does not have to be a problem, but the sequel to these “Shrooms” does not stand out from other slasher films in the horror genre. When the first victims fall, director Breathnach manages to create a certain tension build-up in the confrontations and in the run-up to them, but the design of this and that undermines the effectiveness too often. Fast camera shots, rapidly changing camera positions, choppy camerawork, wild movements, vague and shadowy figures … Breathnach apparently wants to make things appear flashy and he succeeds with his approach, but one of the main consequences is that the events too often unclear.
An additional aspect is that the main characters are tripping. It therefore remains unclear, both for the characters in the story and for the viewer, which threats are real and which are not. To emphasize this once again, the necessary hallucinating and distorted images are thrown at it, but in combination with the all too often too fast and unclear images, it doesn’t get much brighter. As mentioned, Breathnach knows how to actually evoke and more or less hold on to a certain tension here, but the images intended as surrealistic ensure, by too often unclear portraying the events, that things are too blurred or appears too floating to be really appealing or effective.
All the more so since Breathnach does not seem to know exactly which way he wants to go. The two ragged and half-drooling rednecks pass by several times with statements as vague as they are unclear, there is a haggard and monk-dressed figure with an ax around and an unnecessary and unclear link is made. to the ruins of a boys’ school where in ancient times torture and murder were carried out by sadistic monks. Breathnach involves the necessary atmosphere-enhancing ingredients in his story, but is unable to do justice to them. The result is that his film seems more confused than they contribute. Furthermore, there is the usual running and wandering through the woods in combination with the fearful and panicky behavior associated with the students, but Breathach’s insufficiently convincing approach means that his film does not really impress on this point either.
However, the environment is well chosen and extremely attractive. A large, vast and remote area, densely wooded, swampy and misty here and there. A neat environment to let a story like this play out. It is a pity that due to the shortcomings present in this film, its functionality only partly comes to the fore. The amount of gore also lags behind to a remarkable extent. When the various confrontations take place, the choice was made to let the camera turn off fairly quickly and leave the events to the viewer’s imagination. In itself horror films enough in which this is effective enough, but in the slasher film that these ‘Shrooms’ pretend to be, some additional scenes would have been welcome in this respect.
Little noticeable characters further. Quite clichéd, as in many comparable horror films in which a group of young people is thinned out one by one. Predictably enough, they also indulge in quarrels and squabbles among themselves and commit the necessary illogical actions with which they help to overcome the disaster at hand lf calling. No characters that will be particularly sympathetic or that stand out particularly. The same goes for the acting of the various parties involved. Most convincing is the work of Lindsey Haun as lead actress Tara. The performances of the other cast members are decent enough, but not very striking. Overall, “Shrooms” is a movie that never gets really scary. A film in which a dark atmosphere is always present and in which, in combination with scary sounds, a number of successful scares and oppressive moments are built in, but in which too many imperfections can be identified to label it a high flyer for the horror fan. A film that could have been more in it.