Just what we need. More bad press about psychotropic mushrooms.
|I don't think he's real.... Oops. Wait a minute.|
Here's the story. Five American college students go camping in Ireland with their old college friend Jake, who tells them that Ireland has the best Psilocybe mushrooms in the world, which they proceed to sample, except for one, who eats the dreaded death's head mushroom instead.
|This is what happens when you break social taboos against ingesting psychotropic fungi.|
And so, one by one, the campers are gruesomely slaughtered. Is it real, or is it a mushroom-induced hallucination? Who are those black-clad figures in the misty woods — ghostly monks? real genetic anomalies? And why is there a talking cow?
It is hard to know what to make of all this. In many ways this is a typical teenage slasher movie, with the added plot twist that the potential victims do not know whether their experience is real or hallucinated. There is also an additional subtext. To the list of things that can get you killed if you are a teenager — going into the basement, answering the telephone while you are babysitting, having sex — we can now add ingesting psychoactive mushrooms. Getting high on mushrooms apparently violates two social taboos — first, against getting high on anything; and, second, against ingesting any mushrooms at all in a mycophobic culture that considers eating fungi to be ... well, French.
|Amanita phalloides. Do not eat. This will not let you see the future.|
The movie was not hailed by critics. The Daily Mirror called it "unoriginal, dull and as scary as the adventures of Noddy." The Guardian says it is "as boring as listening to anyone's drug story." The San Francisco Film Society is a little kinder: "It's not brilliant, but sufficiently funny and creepy and freaky." Reviews are at Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb. Here is the preview:
And, as a special treat, here is Andy Letcher, author of the book Shroom: A Cultural History of the Magic Mushroom, talking about the movie: