Monday, 11 March 2013

Shrooms (2007)

“See Ireland. Do ‘shrooms.”

There are no stars in this obscure-ish thriller. It’s not the best film ever made or anything. But it should be more widely seen. I have a bit of an issue with the fact that this Irish film tries to feature as few Irish accents as possible for the benefit of the presumed-to-be-narrow-minded American audience, who are assumed not to be able to deal with Irish accents. Thus we have a largely American cast, with the sole main Irish character having spent some years in an English public school, with a hybrid accent to match.

It’s a good film, though. The drugginess of the central conceit is matched by a hazy, misty look to the film, which works wonderfully with the deeply evocative, if stereotypical, Irish locations. The dialogue is good, and the plot is beautifully structured. The characters may conform to those tired old American high school stereotypes, but this just means we can get the introductions over with and get on with a plot. Thrillers, after all, are fuelled by plot more than character development.

Oh, and we also have the line “Do you guys get dogging in America”? That alone makes the film worth seeing. And then there are all those comforting tropes- being deep into the woods, sinister locals, made-up “local” legends, mobile phones conveniently not working. But then we also get clever use of drugginess to make us question the narrative, not least by means of a talking cow. And, not to spoilerify, but this sort of thing leads us to a rather clever and satisfying ending in which everything we think we know is wrong. Also, there’s a character called Bluto, which rules. So don’t be put off by the fact that the only actors you vaguely recognise are minor Father Ted characters.

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