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Severance (2006)

DVD Cover (Magnolia Pictures)
Genres:
Action Thriller, Horror, Horror Comedy, Satire
Director:
Christopher Smith Christopher Smith
Starring:
Toby Stephens Toby Stephens
Claudie Blakley Claudie Blakley
Andy Nyman Andy Nyman
Babou Ceesay Babou Ceesay
Tim McInnerny Tim McInnerny
User Lists:
> Best Films of 2007

6.2 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Tristan
Added: September 21, 2007
Shaun of the Dead, Braindead, The Evil Dead, these are just a few of the horror-comedies we've been treated to in the last 20 years. As history teaches us, the two genres can go hand-in-hand very nicely. There are very few people who can't appreciate a good mix of both. Severance is, hands down, one of the best movies I've seen all year.

Palisade Defence, a European weapons company, is sending out its sales division for a weekend of team-building. You have your typical bunch of office drones. There's Steve (Danny Dyer) the wise-cracking stoner, Maggie (Laura Harris), the intelligent and attractive blonde, Gordon (Andy Nyman), the over-prepared annoyance, and a handful of other people who really don't have a huge impact on the movie. They're all led by Richard (Tim McInnerny) and Billy(Babou Ceesay), their boss and his assistant who don't seem to know a whole hell of a lot about where they're going, or what to expect. Gareth and Brent, anyone? Their destination: a beautiful lodge in the forests of Hungary. While on their way, the company bus comes across a fallen tree on the road. Rather than take a detour, the driver throws their bags to the side of the road, and takes off.

Abandoned on the side of the road, they begin to walk until they come across a rundown lodge, and assume it's where they're supposed to stay. Over supper, one of the team tells the rest of the table about an old urban legend. It would seem that near where they are staying, there used to be a prison/rehabilitation camp, something along those lines anyway, for war criminals. In the early 1990's, a renegade group of Russian military went apeshit, burning people alive, killing whole villages, you get the idea. They were eventually caught and sentenced to this camp, where doctors used obscene methods to punish and rehabilitate the inmates. Then some years later, it was discovered that the inmates had escaped, locking the doctors in the cells and escaping to survive in the woods. It's not long before they realize that there's people roaming the woods, and that the urban legends are true. To make matters worse, the "lodge" they think they're staying in is actually the rehabilitation camp. This weekend retreat quickly becomes a fight for survival, as the Palisade staff find themselves hunted down one by one.

If I had to describe this movie in one sentence, it would be The Office meets Wrong Turn. The film's opening scenes create the exact kinds of characters that The Office was so popular for, and the last half of the movie is a balls-to-the-wall, kill-or-be-killed bloodfest. The idea of the Russian war criminals, while unique, is sort of foggy throughout the movie. You're led to believe that the urban legends about them escaping are true, but this would be over 15 years prior and seems unlikely. That little flaw aside, this movie is perfect. The whole movie is filled with laughs, whether it's Steve doing drugs, or someone getting decapitated. Chris Smith wrote this script with a very particular audience in mind, and it's obvious that this is going to get him recognized in a hurry. The movie looked and sounded great, and the characters were more than believable. Steve and Maggie were excellent as the heroes, trying to get everyone out alive, while still drawing laughs time and time again from yours truly. There was even a nice little nod to Dr. Strangelove, one of my favourite movies. This movie was both great for a laugh, and terrifying at the same time. Buy it, rent it, Netflix it, whatever. Just make sure you see this movie.

10/10.
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Cryptorchild #1: Cryptorchild - added 09/21/2007, 09:32 AM
I really liked this movie but I didn't think it was funny. Yeah, there was a laugh or two here and there but that's about it. It was a very cool movie, I just expected it to be funnier. 8/10.
bluemeanie #2: bluemeanie - added 09/21/2007, 10:18 AM
I've got this coming this weekend. Can't wait to see it!
grain of sand #3: grain of sand - added 09/22/2007, 04:30 AM
just saw this and loved it, I thought it was hilarious, I actually laughed out loud more than once.. great gore, great story 9/10
bluemeanie #4: bluemeanie - added 10/19/2007, 10:28 AM
Not bad, but I didn't think it was amazing. I thought the premise was nice, I thought the actors were well cast and I loved the opening sequence, with the blood soaked guy tilting upside down as the title comes up on the screen. And I loved the corporate training video and when they find George at the lodge with his 'new weapon'. However, it didn't work all the time and the film didn't really seem to find a fine enough balance for me. But, still enjoyable. 7/10.
Lucid Dreams #5: Lucid Dreams - added 04/18/2010, 04:09 PM
Pretty good movie. 8/10
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