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  Publicity Stills of "Severance"
(Courtesy from GV)

Genre: Horror/Comedy
Director: Christopher Smith
Starring: Danny Dyer, Laura Harris, Tim McInnerny
RunTime: 1 hr 35 mins
Released By: GV
Rating: NC-16
Official Website: http://www.severancethemovie.co.uk/

Opening Day: 12 October 2006

Synopsis :

Working nine to five is a real killer, but teambuilding holidays can be even worse. Seven colleagues find themselves faced with the chop when their corporate weekend is sabotaged by a deadly enemy. Forget office politics, only the smartest will survive this bloody office outing.

Movie Review:

Eastern Europe is the new playground for gore.

A group of employees from a multi-national weapons manufacturer, Palisade Defense, gets to spend a weekend at the company's luxury lodge in Hungary for some serious get together-team bonding session. However, they get more than they bargained for when their bus driver abandons them midway through the journey, and they have to find their way past their bickering differences to scout for their destination. Naturally, things start to go bump and the bonding they so sorely need quickly escalates into a fight for survival.

The movie starts off rather slowly and takes its time to establish the motley crew of characters, even though they turn out to be rather one dimensional, like the incompetent manager, the hunk, the American blonde, the Brit brunette, and even a druggie! While you might want to warrant a guess who goes first, or have notions based on past films of the genre, don't, as you'll more than likely end up being wrong. From the half way mark when things start to go awfully messy, it's pace quickens and never lets up right until the end, while genuinely keeping you intrigued and is generous with the copious amounts of blood on screen.

Severance incorporates familiar themes and plot elements in the thriller-gore genre, and you can easily identify elements from recent contemporaries like The Hills Have Eyes and Hostel, to name two. However, what makes this film stand out is its infusion of totally well placed humour, which highlights its sheer wickedness to leave you undecided whether to laugh out loud, or to cry at the predicament of the characters. And best of all, it doesn't come across as pretty contrived, as much of the funny bits stem from what the characters do, or fail to do, rather than being outright comical about it. Also, it doesn't subscribe to the cliches and formula that plague the usual genre narrative, thus making the story fairly refreshing without the expected twists and turns. At times it's being satirical, highlighting the fact that what goes around, comes around, and of course, the subtle jibes on war-mongerers.

The soundtrack too played an important role in pushing this film through the crowded genre offering of late. Creepy at the right places, and at times feeling totally off and absurd with its music selection which seems to add on to the general feeling of bewilderment, but yet strangely invoking a sense of calm to what should be tense situations.

Writer-director Christopher Smith's Severance looks set to establish a cult following for this movie, as do many from the genre which easily become fan favourites, given its non conformity to expectations, but giving more satisfaction back in return. Definitely not one for the faint hearted, but generally rewarding to those who dare give this thriller a try.

Movie Rating:

(Full of wicked fun!)

Review by Stefan Shih



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