Severed (2005)

DVD Cover (Screen Media)
Genres: Horror, Natural Horror, Zombie Film
A multi-national forestry company engages in genetic experimentation to increase logging yield in a remote section of forest. But the experimentation goes disastrously wrong, transforming a disparate group of loggers and environmental activists into the "infected" -- ravenous, zombie-like creatures who prey upon the few terrified survivors while they attempt to understand and control the disaster. --IMDb
Carl Bessai Carl Bessai
Paul Campbell Paul Campbell
Sarah Lind Sarah Lind
Julian Christopher Julian Christopher
JR Bourne JR Bourne
Michael Teigen Michael Teigen

4.6 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Chad
Added: August 12, 2006
It could be argued that I'm a sucker for everything that comes out of this recent flood of zombie movies. Whenever I see a zombie movie listed on new-release day, I just have to check it out regardless of how bad it sounds or how many similar films I have recently watched. It's a rarity that a zombie film comes along that does something new, and with tonight's feature presentation... well, this isn't one of those rare films. However, I couldn't help but laugh at the whole zombies versus hippies scenario, so it does get points for that.

Hippies, you're asking yourself? Sure, that's how the whole thing gets started. Rita (Sarah Lind) is your typical tree-hugging vegan hippie, and she leads a group of activists deep into the woods in order to stop a logging operation led by one Mr. Arnold (Colin Lawrence). Not content to merely flash their signs and bang on the loggers' trucks, the group has a habit of spiking the trees that these men will be cutting down so that when their chainsaw hits the spike, it results in damage to both the chainsaw and the worker. This results in a worker damned near slicing his arm off with a chainsaw, and it just so happens that he gets some sap from the tree that he was working on into his bloodstream. Normally, this probably wouldn't be a big deal; however, it turns out that a group of scientists have been working on some genetic engineering doodads that will make trees grow faster so that the loggers can turn more of a profit, and this particular tree happens to have some of said engineering thanks to the efforts of a fellow named Carter (JR Bourne). Therefore, when the sap gets into this poor sap's bloodstream, it turns him into a flesh-hungry zombie; why, I couldn't tell you, but that's how the movie explains it. It doesn't take long for him to score a victim, which brings us up to two zombies, and of course, two zombies turns into four, four turns into eight, and before you can say "Romero!", we've got a forest full of the living dead waiting for the bosses son Tyler (Paul Campbell) who has been sent out to investigate.

Before getting into the negatives, let's check out what the movie does offer for the zombie fan such as myself. For starters, it's a very simple humans-vs-zombies scenario with a good deal of the red stuff. Personally, I'm not a fan of those zombie movies that try to throw a little bit of everything into the storyline; I prefer the ones that give us a group of humans, hordes of zombies that want to tear those humans limb from limb, and focuses on that conflict for the better part of the running time with a gory death thrown in every now and again. Is that too much to ask for? I certainly don't think so, and for the most part, this film gives you that.

Now, the negatives. The worst part of this movie is the shaky-cam style of editing that the director chose to use in damned near every scene which featured the slightest bit of action. You know what I'm talking about; a horde of zombies close in on some poor guy or gal, and based on what you're seeing through the camera, you'd swear that the person filming the scene was going into an epileptic seizure. I truly hate that style of shooting a scene, and it's so bad that you actually can't tell what happens to one of the main characters at the end of the movie. Does he die, or does he manage to escape? I don't think that this was meant to be left unanswered, but thanks to the shaky-cam, it's impossible to tell.

Speaking of the ending, that's the other thing that I disliked about this movie. Now, I don't expect a happy ending from every movie; in fact, I actually prefer the films that end on a downer note due to the fact that that's more surprising for the most part. My problem in this regard with Severed was that basically, there was no ending; it felt like the final ten minutes of the film were missing. There are two main characters left alive by the end of the movie, and one of them is involved in the aforementioned shaky-cam madness while the other one runs down the street in search of help after seeing a car go by. With the forest quarantined, it's quite odd for a car to be driving by; could it have been someone who was previously thought to be dead, or has the quarantine been lifted? Does this person catch up with the car, or do they fall victim to the horde of zombies that are hot on their trail? We'll never know, because the film ends right there. This is not one of those "you decide what happens" type of endings, and it truly feels as though a large chunk of the script was axed at the last moment for whatever reason.

Overall, it's an entertaining zombie film even though it doesn't bring anything new to the table. If you can get past the shaky-cam scenes and the horrible "ending", you're in for a night of mindless entertainment; never a bad thing, mind you, but I felt that things could have been so much better. 5/10.
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