Severance (2006)

Another bloody office outing.
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Severance - Another Bloody Office Outing

Severance is an effective British comedy-slasher with a star studded cast of British actors providing a typical wit dryer than a vagina in a nunnery. The movie provides a balance of humor and violence managing to extract absurdity from some disturbing situations inspiring simultaneous cringing and mirth. The gore is plentiful but realistic enough to empathize with the victim's pain but the majority of the entertainment comes from the eccentric characters enduring the team building trip from hell. As is necessary the players in the game of cats and mice (maybe the game of crocodiles and watering buffaloes is a better analogy) are an eclectic crew whose personalities clash from the offset but are a lot more though-out than the emblematic bunch of dumb jocks, bimbos and nerds usually employed to be slasher victims.

The European Sales division of Palisade Defence, a multinational weapons manufacturer, is typically unimpressed with their forced team-building vacation to a Hungarian-style luxury lodge in the mountains. After being forced on foot due to a fallen tree and a disgruntled local coach driver the team eventually find a lodge and assuming that Hungarian five-star accommodation is a dilapidated ramshackle wooden building, they set up for an enthralling weekend of bonding through lame games usually only enjoyed by your average mid-life crisis 40-something male. After a few scary stories and a tooth-pie, assumingly left for them, the unenthused team retires to bed to ensure maximum jollity is had the next day.

After a nighttime intrusion from an unknown peeper, the consensus become that the team are in the wrong lodge and next morning the team-leader, Richard (Tim McInnerny), diffidently sends two team members, Jill and Harris, to find the bus driver on the condition that everyone else enjoys a game of paintball. The bus finding mission goes bad as the bus if found abandoned and the driver murdered, the paintball goes bad too as the affable Gordon (Andy Nyman) looses his leg in a bear-trap.

Jill and Harris decide it's definitely time to "get the fuck out of lodge" and commandeer the bus and pick up the rest of the crew, but whoever was creeping around the lodge the night before doesn't want his new friends to leave and spike-strips the bus causing it to crash. The antagonists enter the stage and start to mop up the survivors, with the usual amount of decapitation and burning alive set aside for masked Russians in these types of movie scenes. Those that manage to escape the crazed vodka-enthusiasts head back to the lodge but soon discover that they definitely found the wrong lodge and that their company may also be responsible for a nearby prison camp.

Director Christopher Smith (Creep and Triangle) keeps the story flowing with bouts of agonizing violence often enough to keep the viewer's attention and leave them anticipating the next shock. As well as the gore being quite plausible the humour is also not forced as anyone who works in an office environment can probably relate each of the characters back to someone they have the pleasure of spending their weekdays with. The ending takes on a quite intense change in the flow of the plot and knocks the action and tension up quite a dramatical notch making the movie stand out from the mediocre taking Severance from a good movie to a rememberably good movie.

The irony created by the nature of the team's career choice maintains an underlying notion that maybe they deserve to meet their maker and the reason the killers kill makes their actions seem almost honourable creating a twisting of emotions as the movie progresses. Satire and violence unconventionally melded into a conventional slasher plot makes Severance a worthwhile visual experience without seeming like a mismatch of genres.
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Categories: British Horror Movies
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