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1 rating: 3.0
Military & War movie

Studio: Magnolia Pict Hm Ent Release Date: 07/29/2008 Run time: 92 minutes Rating: R

Tags: Movie
1 review about Severance

[3.5]--Well I didn't expect that.........

  • Nov 2, 2007
Better-than-average thriller which stirs enough black humor into the mix to prevent you from taking it seriously. In "Severance," a group of defense workers goes off on a corporate retreat ("team building") and are confronted by a menace. But what is facing them is not just some unseen killer, no, it's the terror of an unforgiving public who's been there, done that. They don't just have to win over the attacker -- they have to win over the audience as well. Or should I say that's the challenge of writer-director Christopher Smith, and he succeeds with ease.

Several gruesome moments seem like bait for gore-mongers, since the film would work perfectly well without them, but are well-done and there is enough character development at the front end of the movie to make you care when the blood starts to flow. I thought the characters were consistent enough (and surprising enough) to behave like real human beings, instead of turning into horror movie cliches. There's Danny Dyer's Steve who is still able to provide comic relief in a film that's already quite satirical. The goal of this trip is a little R&R, but Steve misread it as sex and drugs and R&R. He is a standout here. A fierce American female played by Laura Harris who shines as Maggie who maintains her tough exterior without turning into Laura Croft. Toby Stephens, Claudie Blakley, Andy Nyman, Babou Ceesay, and Tim McInnerny all turn in perfectly lighthearted performances while remaining frighteningly real. The exploitation of horror movie clich├ęs by turning some of them inside out also generates a good portion of the humor. There are also enough surprises to keep you intrigued - one stabbing looks so painful it'll make you think twice before kicking anyone in the butt. "Severance" looks like a big budget film but with Indie sensibility.

Another thing that I found interesting on this disc were some of the special features. The one special feature about all of the bad effects was actually very amusing especially when the one effects "master" admitted that he had no desire to work in film but got into the business when he saw how much it paid. Funny! So while "Severance" is a good movie for a Friday evening it doesn't garner repeated viewings in the future. While not as outrageous as Shaun of the Dead, this film works and is a must-see for enthusiast's of black humor.

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