28 April 2010

Severance 2006 (SPOILERS) - REVIEW

Director: Christopher Smith
Writers: Christopher Smith; James Moran
Taglines: The company is making cutbacks.

Let me start off by saying I am quickly becoming a fan of the British horror. I thought Christopher Smith delivered well with the very fun and gory film Creep and now he gives us Severance, a roller coaster ride of horror and humor. The problem with most horror comedies is that writers/directors feel the need to link some kind of humor to every bit of horror and it tends to over shadow. It’s like okay, we’ve scared the hell out of you now let me take the edge off with a little funny. Not every scene needs to be a mix of both. Christopher Smith and James Moran manage to create the perfect match up of horror, comedy, suspense and gore. Not only does it have that balance but it is superbly acted and directed to perfection. The relationships between the characters are well written, strong and believable. I've seen several references to it being a sort of 'Hostel' meets 'The Office' and I can see where some would think that.

So, moving on...

Lead by company president Richard (Tim McInnerny), the best of the best from Palisade Defense head off on a weekend team building exercise in Budapest. When they come up on a tree blocking the road Richard tells the bus driver to take the narrow dirt road through the woods. The driver refuses and after a heated argument the group is thrown off the bus and left to find their own way to their awaiting mountain resort.

Upon their arrival at the lodge it seems that the wonderful accommodations George (David Gilliam) promised them just aren’t up to par. The power doesn’t work, there's dust everywhere, and the only thing to eat is an old meat pie. Gordon, (Andy Nyman), takes it upon himself to cook up the pie, not mentioning that he'd found it in the kitchen. And when the druggie Steve finds a tooth in his piece, things start to take a turn for the worse. A few of the members tell stories they'd heard that the lodge was actually an insane asylums used by the Russians to keep mentally deranged soldiers. But that’s all just rumors and hearsay, nothing to take too seriously, right…WRONG!

When strange things start happening around their “luxury lodge”, the group starts to get a little paranoid and decide that maybe it's time to head home. They split up (bad move) and that’s when the gruesome discoveries begin.

Are they at the right lodge? If they are, where the hell is George? And if they aren’t in the right place, where the hell are they, and why do they have a bunch of Palisade’s confidential files? It’s all fun and games until someone loses a leg, and then it’s just fear you can’t get away from fast enough.

From this point on, the movie is pretty much balls to the wall murder and mayhem as Harris (Toby Stephens), Jill (Claudie Blakley), Steve (Danny Dyer), , Maggie (Laura Harris) and Billy (Babou Ceesay) fight for their lives against not one but dozens of pissed off Russians hell bent on getting even with Palisade Defense.

I think overall, it starts out a little slow. You get a lot of action in the first 5 mintues then the next 45 minutes or so are used to set up for the really fast paced ending. They tease you at the beginning, flesh out the excitement then hit you with it all at once. Just when you think you have the bad guy figured out, you find out it’s only the beginning. Between the horror and the black humor, I’d recommend this movie to any horror lover.

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