Tuesday 27 November 2007

Shrooms



Paddy Breathnach's Shrooms. A Hasty Review.

What works:
  • The film looks sumptuous. Whilst obviously aesthetically indebted to recent Asian mindfucks such as Ring and Dark Water, the predominantly Irish crew can be proud of their visual accomplishments in this piece... Locations, photography, post-production... Huzzah to you all on this front!
  • Don Wycherley and Seán McGinley are absolutely hilarious as the inbred local types. Think Podge & Rodge without the jaded cynicism.
  • Those Yank lasses sure are easy on the eye.
What does not work:
  • Those American characters sure are bloody annoying. Such preposterously cliched misfortunes - the jock, the stoner, the virginal good girl, the bitch - that it is impossible to feel even the slightest semblance of emotional attachment to them. Generic staples me hole!
  • Was it really necessary for them to be American? I do understand the marketing logic behind such internationalism when writing and casting. However would Irish youngsters really have been that unsettling for our overseas cousins? Such pandering to the American Dollar, whilst (possibly) fiscally sound, only serves to prostitute the artistic integrity of our national cinema in the long run... This might only be a horror flick, but it is symptomatic of a lack of self-confidence in our industry that continues to persist. There really is no need. Garage anyone?
  • The Irish dancing young ones in the airport. The constant talk of ancient druids. The ironic treatment of Oirishness that fell flat on its arse.
  • That monumentally fucking stupid, yet blindingly obvious ending!
  • The fact that Shrooms is not even a mite scary, dramatic, or funny (with the exception of the cow and the dogging scene). Even a stopped clock though, what?
In conclusion, Shrooms is a bit of mess. If you must, then at least wait a few months. A possible second rental, but only if you're stuck.

Alas, yet another opportunity missed.

18 comments:

BRENDAN said...

I really enjoyed this film.... yes it is basic horror fare schlock but that's why i went to see it...i wasn't expecting The Godfather or even The Shining.

The ending, as per all horror movies, bar the rare exceptions, was terrible - but sadly i've come to accept that - an indictment on the genre as a whole unfortunately.

In terms of him using American actors instead of Irish - while i obviously would have preferred it to be a completely Irish cast i see the logic from Paddy Breathnach's point of view and hope that maybe a increased international profile as a result of this film might allow him to make an internationally aimed film with a complete Irish cast in the future.

Also I found the Irish dancing at the airport funny and tongue in cheek....well done Mr. Breathnach.

In conclusion if you are horror movie inclined go see it...if not don't bother

Le Catch said...

I would agree with the last comment.

I'm not a fan of horror films and I hated this flick. Some terrible dialogue, very predictable ending and the director seemed to rely on quick editing and loud musical scores to try and scare. And if that makes a good horror film then this film probably works.

Not for me though.

John Cav said...

Brendan: Each to their own old chap. I'm glad you liked it! Indeed, I'd be much happier to write a possitive review. After all, this is the man who gave us I Went Down.

One bone of contention with your point though... Shrooms wasn't "basic horror fare schlock". Breathnach went out of his way to incorporate aesthetic and narrative devices from a range of recent horror sub genres, not just the schlock/slasher archetype... The Asian J-Horror visuals and fragmented narrative were the most obvious example of this cherry picking. Not to mention the evident debt to The Blair Witch.

Furthermore, in an interview with Film Ireland the director pointed out how he and the screenwriter initially intended Shrooms to be a slasher flick. However, halfway through the initial draft they changed their minds and took a more psychological approach to the narrative.

This lack of focus and fleeting sense of style are what caused the many flaws - as I saw them - in this movie. A pity really.

Le Catch: The quick (lazy) edits and clunky score also pissed me off. As for the dialogue? A pity really.

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