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Overall Rating
3.02

Awesome: 8.7%
Worth A Look45.65%
Average: 2.17%
Pretty Bad: 26.09%
Total Crap: 17.39%

6 reviews, 10 user ratings


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Severance (2007)
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by Scott Weinberg

"Weapon-makers get a taste of their own medicine -- and then some!"
4 stars

SCREENED AT THRE 2006 FANTASTIC FEST: I've seen "Severance" described as a lot of things: "The Next Shaun of the Dead" is one. "The Office Meets Deliverance" is another. Neither are entirely accurate, but if those descriptions get you to buy a ticket for this delicious little piece of British horror/comedy, then I have no problem whatsoever with those descriptions.

Sophomore effort from director Christopher Smith (Creep) and first-time screenplay from writer James Moran, Severance is all sorts of fun. It's about a group of weapons company executives who, against their wishes but at the behest of their stuffed-shirt boss, head out for a "team building weekend" -- deep in the woods of Eastern Europe. Not too bright, I know.

Turns out there's some forest folk who hold a decidedly nasty grudge against the Palisade Defense staff -- and they're not afraid to show off their displeasure through the use of guns, knives, flamethrowers, land mines, and bear traps. Yep, bear traps.

If the first half of Severance feels like a snarky, dialogue-based comedy flick, then the second half is pure, bloody mayhem. That both halves work so smoothly (and tie together so slickly) is a testament to Smith's improving skills and Moran's talent on the word processor. It seems fairly obvious that both filmmakers have experience working in an office environment, as the cast is composed of several broadly amusing stereotypes: In addition to the aforementioned stuffed-shirt, we also get a sycophantic yes-man, a by-the-book prissy chick, an amusingly arrogant salesman, etc. And then we get out heroes: A lovely American gal named Maggie and a drug-loving slacker-type called Steve. (Actors Laura Harris and Danny Dyer, excellent throughout the movie, strike a particularly strong chemistry during Severance's later scenes.)

Smith and Moran are clever enough to mix the characters up: Some of 'em are so obnoxious that you can't wait to see them get slaughtered -- while others are strangely sweet or endearing enough to create a "rooting interest" for the viewer. Severance also boasts an impressive look, strong production design, and a pace that might stumble just a little in Act I -- but once things get rolling, there's a whole lot of fun to be had here.

You'll chuckle at the British banter, you'll cheer the creative carnage, and you'll root for the heroes through their third act uprising. If that's not a fun way to spend 90-some minutes, I don't know what is.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=14900&reviewer=128
originally posted: 10/01/06 23:10:56
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Toronto Film Festival For more in the 2006 Toronto Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Fantastic Fest For more in the 2006 Fantastic Fest series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Chicago Film Festival For more in the 2006 Chicago Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Boston Fantastic Film Festival For more in the 2006 Boston Fantastic Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2007 South By Southwest Film Festival For more in the 2007 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2007 Portland Film Festival For more in the 2007 Portland Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2007 Florida Film Festival For more in the 2007 Florida Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2007 Philadelphia Film Festival For more in the 2007 Philadelphia Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

3/06/11 PAUL SHORTT LIVELY OFFBEAT FUN THREADING GUT-WRENCHING GORE THROUGH COMIC DYNAMICS 4 stars
10/29/07 Servo Freaking great fun and funny to boot. Check this out and Creep, Smith's 1st movie. 4 stars
7/03/07 William Goss Last forty minutes isn't worth sitting thru the first fifty for. 3 stars
4/19/07 Stevo UK Anyone who wants to see a classic example of British humor Watch Only Fools and horses. 1 stars
3/20/07 Bitchflaps No substance beyond the British humour-meets-gore-film gimmick. Sadism for its own sake. 1 stars
10/09/06 Phil Funny, worth a watch 4 stars
10/08/06 Mark Oz Great fun. If it's on near you, don't miss it. 5 stars
9/27/06 Jenn Funny, Scary and gory 5 stars
8/08/06 Mary Elliers Excellent. Funny, scary, upredictable. 5 stars
7/29/06 John Walker Saw it in Korean film festival it's brilliant. Funny,scary and gory. 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  18-May-2007 (R)
  DVD: 18-Sep-2007

UK
  25-Aug-2006
  DVD: 08-Jan-2007

Australia
  N/A



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