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Severance (2006) is a British comedy horror film, written by James Moran, directed by Christopher Smith, and starring Danny Dyer and Laura Harris. In 2009, media interest in the film was revived following the alleged copycat murder of a UK teenager.

The film opens with George (David Gilliam) and two women running through the woods. The women fall into a large pit trap while George, after refusing to help them, continues running only to be caught in a snare. As George hangs helplessly, a masked man approaches and disembowels him with a knife.

What is later revealed as some days prior to this, the European Sales division of Palisade Defence are on a bus to a team-building weekend at a "luxury lodge" in the Mátra Mountains of Hungary. When a fallen tree blocking the road halts the bus's progress, manager Richard (Tim McInnerny) tells the bus driver to take a dirt road through the woods. The driver refuses and, after some heated words in Hungarian, drives off leaving the group to walk the remaining distance to the lodge.

Eventually the group reaches the lodge, which is old and in serious disrepair. They argue that this cannot be the luxury lodge they have been told about. Richard attempts to convince them this is the correct lodge. The group decide to enter, but mostly because they are tired and weary. When searching for the generator, Harris (Toby Stephens) discovers a file cabinet full of cryptic Palisade documents, written in Russian. The group discusses the documents over dinner, leading Harris to relate a story he'd heard about the lodge: the lodge was previously a mental institution, and in the early 1900s a Palisade-made nerve gas was used to clear it out after the inmates took over. Jill (Claudie Blakley) responds with the story she'd heard: the lodge was a "reeducation center" for Russian war criminals, and after an escape a Palisade-made nerve gas was used to clear escapees out of nearby buildings. Both mention a lone survivor who swore revenge on Palisade. Steve (Danny Dyer) starts to tell his own story about the lodge's past as a clinic staffed by busty nurses when he finds a human tooth in the meat pie the group is eating for dinner. Assuming the tooth is from the pie's maker and chastising Gordon (Andy Nyman) for serving a pie he found, everyone goes to bed.

That night Jill sees someone looking into the lodge from the trees. Though nobody is found outside, everyone but Richard agrees that they should leave the lodge. The next morning Richard grudgingly sends Harris and Jill to the top of the hill to call the bus driver back, on the condition that the rest participate in a team-building game of paintball. Reaching the hill, Harris and Jill find the bus abandoned and the bus driver dead in a nearby creek, obviously murdered horribly. Back at the lodge, the game of paintball has just finished when Gordon steps into a bear trap. After several failed attempts by Steve and Billy (Babou Ceesayu) to pry the trap open, Gordon's left leg is cut through completely under the knee.

Harris and Jill arrive in the bus, load everyone in and head back for town. On the way, a spike strip is thrown in front of the bus, which causes it to crash. Harris is thrown clear of the bus in the crash, and is decapitated by a masked man with a machete. Jill is captured and tied to a tree, then doused with gasoline and burned alive (see Murder section, below). The rest discover Harris's body, prompting them to head for the lodge to hide for the night.

While Steve and Maggie (Laura Harris) smoke, a masked figure quietly grabs Gordon and carries him into the basement. Discovering Gordon's absence and a newly opened door, the four head into the basement which leads to an underground prison. Through one door Billy and Maggie find the now-dead Gordon who has had the Palisade logo carved into his torso and a now-unmasked Russian man carrying a shotgun, who shoots at them. The two hide in a nearby cell, where Billy dies from a chest wound. Steve hides on the second floor in a large wardrobe while Richard escapes out the back into the woods. Through a narrow opening of the wardrobe door, Steve notices the wheel of cheese that Richard was cutting before with the large kitchen knife still beside it. While the Russian searches for Steve, Maggie sneaks up on him with a very large knife she took from the prison in the basement. But she falls through the rickety floor just before she can stab him. The Russian is amused at his good fortune and takes aim at Maggie as she writhes in pain on the floor of the main level. At the last second, Steve saves Maggie by impaling the Russian through the back with the kitchen knife. The Russian falls down and becomes lodged in the main level floor. Maggie takes his shotgun and shoots the Russian in the head, which kills him instantly.

Maggie and Steve exit the lodge believing they are safe, but discover that a group of more masked men are awaiting them outside. Maggie shoots one before he can fire on them, and the two run into the woods because the gun is out of ammunition. They come across Richard, who has stepped on a Palisade-made land mine and cannot move without detonating it. Knowing this he guides Maggie and Steve through the minefield. After being cowardly throughout the film he tries to save the others by enticing the Russians by shouting in the hope that he can make them enter the minefield, killing them. The Russians are attracted by his shouts but know that the area is a minefield and do not enter, they use a fallen branch to pass over the minefield close to Richard and torment him with insults and stones as the pass over him. One spits at him as he passes. Accepting his situation Richard does his best to save the others and steps off the mine. Two seconds later, the mine explodes violently, killing himself and two Russians in the process.

Steve and Maggie come to another lodge, the real Palisade lodge. Inside they find their boss George, who is partying with two escorts Steve ordered via the internet earlier. George brings out a prototype rocket launcher and fires it at the approaching Russians, but the missile locks on to a passing commercial jet instead, destroying it. The five run into the woods, leading to the events shown in the beginning of the film.

Maggie is snared, then nearly raped and killed by a Russian, but manages to kill him with a rock. Steve encounters two and is beaten and stabbed, but takes a machine gun from one and kills them both. Maggie is chased by the remaining, flamethrower-wielding Russian into an abandoned prison camp, filled with crates bearing the Palisade logo. While avoiding the Russian Maggie breaks her leg, but is saved when one of the escorts, rescued by Steve, shoots the Russian with Steve's submachine gun. Steve, Maggie and the escorts make it to a rowboat on the shore of the nearby lake, and as they paddle off to safety Steve jokingly suggests, "Foursome?"

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review by . July 26, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
** out of ****    In "Severance", weapons manufacturing corporation Palisade's European division is on its way - by bus - to a lodge for a team-building weekend full of activity and inter-sex bonding. The members of the division are goofball Steve (Dylan Dyer), much-sought after blonde Maggie (Laura Harris), tubby but enthusiastic Gordon (Andy Nyman), snobby Harris (Toby Stephens), straight-faced Jill (Claudie Blakley), and the leader-sort of the group Richard (Tim McInnery). …
Quick Tip by . May 01, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
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It's okay I suppose, but it bored me to tears.
review by . August 10, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Now That's What I Call
   I wish that we could give half stars when rating films because it would make life so much easier. Some films just fall into that netherland  between a 3 and a 4 and SEVERANCE is one of them. It isn't the laff riot that I expected but it does offer moments of dark humor though not as many as I would have liked. In fact it has one very clever sequence based on the silent version of NOSFERATU that was one of the best things I've seen in years--unfortunately the film makers …
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