Friday, March 29, 2019

Some Bad Trips: Shrooms (2007) and One Way Trip (2011) Double Bill Review

I just realized a few days before writing this that I hadn't reviewed Shrooms (2007) at all since I started this blog, which was honestly shocking for me since I sincerely thought I had all this time. I even went through each of my posts to check and, yep, not a single review page on Shrooms. That day also happens to be the day I finally get to see One Way Trip (2011) in all of its German glory so here's a double bill review of these two movies about massacring magic mushroom munchers!

Shrooms (Ireland, 2007)
Rating: **
Starring: Lindsey Haun, Jack Huston, Max Kasch

While on a trip down into the Ireland countryside, five American college kids join a local for a mushroom picking session and sample fresh fungi off nature's floor to get some of that all-natural high. One of the gals of the group, Tara (Lindsey Haun), ends up munching on a deathcap mushroom despite being told not to, resulting to her suffering a seizure and, for some reason, gaining the ability to experience trance-like foresight.

One campfire tale and a random talking cow later, the group is soon menaced by a trio of creepy boogeymen; the axe-wielding cloaked wraith called The Black Brother, the sack-masked menace monikered the Lonely Twin and a feral man that goes by "Dog". One by one, the mushroom munchers and a couple of rapey-looking hicks nearby get snuffed out, all of which seen by Tara through her trippy magic mushroom-triggered visions. Desperate to escape the killers and save as many as she could, Tara tries to use these foresights in a race against time to warn others of these maniacs. (All, interesting, are from the aforementioned campfire tale. Coincidence?)

Crudely, said attempts to save others mostly have our Tara weeping and screaming at "something" before running through the woods to save her hide, much like the teens from The Blair Witch Project (1999) which this movie is often compared with. The unintentional hilarity of this, along with the movie's minimalist and nearly bloodless kills and its stand to use surrealism for creepiness are practically the reasons why Shrooms (2007) is often regarded as dull and testy to watch. Nevertheless, I grew a minuscule soft spot for this wreck over the years as I learned to at least appreciate the effort of what it was trying to attempt, which is a trippy slasher movie with a tone and direction to match. It undoubtedly has the chaotic visuals and narrative flow, and too a moody atmosphere that definitely would have made an interesting hallucinogen-tainted supernatural bodycounter, if only the story wasn't shit and unfocused, the characters weren't walking hollow stereotypes and, again, the murders were a lot more creative and not too all over the place.

Good idea. Flawed execution. Just another backwoods horror for the rental bins.

1 goat beaten to death with a tire iron
1 male castrated, hacked on the head with an axe
1 male killed offscreen
1 female hacked on the head with an axe
1 female drowned in the lake
1 male stabbed on the gut with a knife
1 male hacked on the head with an axe
1 male killed offcamera with medical scissors
Total: 8

One Way Trip (Austria/Switzerland, 2011)
Rating: **1/2
Starring: Sabrina Reiter, Melanie Winiger, Herbert Leiser

Four years after Shrooms (2007), this Austria/Switzerland co-production does its own take on a mushroom picking-gone-wrong slasher flick on a note much closer to your classic backwoods bodycounter. In 3D.

Six young adults travel to the Swiss trails during a peak season for magic mushrooms, picking up a couple of friendly hitchers along the way and encountering a not-so-friendly farmer and his estranged scarred daughter. Things were going great otherwise as the group proceeds to camp and taste Mother Nature's fun fungi until one of them left to take a wizz and returns battered on the face with a dead branch.

And as if trouble had a switch and some merciless god turns it on, a storm suddenly gathers, their phones now wouldn't work and the only protection nearby is a farmhouse owned by the same shotgun-totting farmer they met before. It isn't long before the farmer makes his presence again and his daughter reveals to have a mean streak of murdering people who rejects her through means involving billhooks and machetes. Bodycounting ensues until a very familiar yet more workably executed twist at the end...

Despite guilty of having a mediocre plot and characters, One Way Trip (2011) is well made enough to warrant a fair viewing as seen with its beautiful camera work and quality, easy pacing and a few good run of your classic backwoods cat-and-mouse stalking and slashing. It also helps that the murders are damn good bloody and occasionally brutal even if some of the digital 3D effects look laughably silly (Remember the popped eyeball scene from Friday the 13th Part 3-D (1983)? Recreated here only with a knife and splatstick logic!), so while it may amount to nothing really but another garden variety slasher movie, I frankly enjoyed One way Trip for the simple yet earnest end result.

Good idea. Semi-decent execution. Just another backwoods horror for the rental bins that I'm sure will try again and again.

1 deer shot with a shotgun
1 wolf shot with a shotgun offcamera
1 male stabbed in the head with a pair of hedge trimmers
1 male gets a knife through the head, eye stabbed out
1 female falls into a gate railing, impaled
1 male caught on fire, immolated
1 male hacked on the back with a billhook, bled to death
1 female hacked on the back with a billhook
1 male had his throat slashed with a scythe head
Total: 9

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