Huston's Horror Hallucinations
This may sound cruel but for me there is not a single ounce of originality to "Shrooms" and it's easy to pick up on the influences which have combined to make this horror in the woods movie. Being unoriginal isn't much of an issue if what comes of it is interesting but unfortunately "Shrooms" failed to engage me, to grip me with a storyline or scare me with the horror. And whilst I sat there contemplating which movie the ending will be influenced by what I got was just as uninspiring as the rest of the movie. I am sure that there are some who have not sat through countless similar horror movies who find "Shrooms" and the tale of horror in the woods with magic mushrooms good entertainment but for me there is nothing about it which really works.
5 friends head to Ireland where they hook up with Jake (Jack Huston) with the plan of going magic mushroom hunting in the woods and getting stoned. On the way to the woods they accidentally hit a goat and find themselves face to face with the woods strange inhabitants. But they make it to their destination where they set up camp and start telling scary stories around the camp fire. Then strange things happen as people go missing, strange shadows and silhouettes are seen in the woods and in a state of being stoned no one knows what is real and what is a hallucination.
I've already mentioned that "Shrooms" is unoriginal and there are influences from other movies all over the place such as the set up of 5 holidaying friends who hook up with another to go magic mushroom hunting for a holiday of stoned pleasure. Whilst the idea of the magic mushrooms held promise what comes of it is quite dull and following a minor moment of horror as these 6 people travel into the woods where they set up camp, the blokes try to have their way with the women, scary stories are told around the camp fire and then things go badly wrong once the magic mushrooms are taken. As such what follows basically links back to the scary camp fire story and the event which happened on the way where people die, one gets premonition style hallucinations and there is scene after scene of running through the woods. And in a corny, stereotypical way a lot of the focus ends up on the screaming women whose cleavage bounces along grabbing the cameras focus.
The thing is that the storyline has potential and in a way it taps into that potential because it makes you question whether what you are watching is really happening to these stoned friends or is just one major bad hallucination. Unfortunately that is as far as it goes because all the moments of horror, such as the creepy guys who live in the woods, the scary stories, the abandoned building and the deaths are all text book. And whilst some of the deaths are quite horrific they rarely deliver a fright due to their telegraphed visual nature. It makes "Shrooms" very much a movie for those who like their horror in your face rather than being shocked by something unsuspected.
And like with the storyline being built around stereotypical scenes the characters and performances are just as stereotypical. To be frank whilst the various women such as Lindsey Haun, Maya Hazen and Alice Greczyn look good and do a nice job of screaming and looking terrified they didn't leave any lasting impression. And the same can be said of Max Kasch who plays Troy and Robert Hoffman as Bluto although I found myself laughing at Jack Huston who as Jake seems to be coming all over a bit Johnny Depp/ Pirates of the Caribbean. It is very much a case that no one actually puts in a bad performance and they do what they have to but no one makes any lasting impression either, just like the movie.
What this all boils down to is that for me "Shrooms" just didn't work and whilst the magic mushroom concept had potential what was delivered was a run of the mill in the woods horror. If you've not watched a lot of horror and like your frights in your face then "Shrooms" will probably be quite entertaining but if you've watched a lot of horror movies then it ends up quite dull with it being similar to so many other better horror movies.