BITS 2021: Our Review of ‘Peppergrass’

Posted in Blood In The Snow 2021, Festival Coverage, Movies by - November 17, 2021
BITS 2021: Our Review of ‘Peppergrass’

In a couple of years, it’s going to be fascinating to collectively take stock of what declined in interest over the course of the pandemic, and what grew in interest. Personally, I think we’re going to be surprised at some of the most popular new hobbies. For instance, mushroom appreciation has reached an all-time high. People are so anxious to be out of the house that mushroom foraging seems like it would be preferable to anxiously anticipating the end of the world.

Mushrooms are everywhere it seems, a statement which extends to the screen. Pig, starring Nic Cage as an eccentric, wild-eyed truffle hunter, was briefly a summer hit. Peppergrass is kind of like the anit-Pig. Here, the protagonists are the thieves, Eula (director Chantelle Han) and Morris (Charles Boyland), instead of the victims. Both Eula and Morris own dining establishments ravaged by the pandemic; Eula is pregnant and desperate, but she knows a former war hero turned reclusive, probably violent truffle farmer (Michael Coperman) that her late grandfather supposedly saved. Thus, the pair come up with the genius plan to rob the hermit, where they will then sell the truffles at a profit and save both of their businesses.

Stories like Peppergrass work precisely because of their ability to set up simple scenarios. As you can probably imagine, the film devolves into a fairly standard reverse home-invasion film; it’s one of those “you messed with the wrong house” films like Don’t Breathe. However, the film works overtime as it shifts into survival horror, centering on Han’s Eula, who is clearly the more sympathetic of the two protagonists. Additionally, Han and co-director Steven Garbas very effectively use light to create some truly beautiful shots. Peppergrass is gorgeous, albeit a little clichéd. Eat your mushrooms, you’ll like ‘em.

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Thomas Wishloff is currently an MA student at York University. He is new to the Toronto Film Scene, but has periodically written and podcasted for several now defunct ventures, and has probably commented on a forum with you at some point. The ex-Edmontonian has been known to enjoy a good board game, and claims to know the secret to the best popcorn in the world.
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