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Severance (R)





Release Date: May 18th, 2007 (Angelika Film Center and AMC Empire 25) by Magnolia Pictures.
The Cast: Danny Dyer, Laura Harris, Tim McInnerny, Toby Stephens, Claudie Blakley, Andy Nyman, Babou Ceesay, David Gilliam, Matthew Baker, Juli Drajko, Kaite Johns.
Directed by Christopher Smith.

BASIC PREMISE: During a corporate team-building weekend, a group of co-workers get stranded in the Hungarian woods where mysterious, sadistic psychopaths try to kill them.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: The aptly-titled Severance blends horror and dark comedy, but doesnít have much in terms of imagination. The employees of Palisade Defense, a multinational weapons supplier, include Steve (Dyer), Gordon (Nyman), Harris (Stephens), Billy (Ceesay), Jill (Harris) and their leader, Richard (McInnerny). Their bus breaks down in the middle of the woods just like in the beginning of any standard horror film. To make matters worse, they find the mutilated corpse of the bus driver and Richard gets caught in bear trap. Soon after, they stumble upon an abandoned house in the middle of the woods and, of course, decide to seek refuge in itólittle do they know that sadistic lunatics are running rampant through the woods searching for their next victim. In a darkly comical scene, one of the employees serves a pie with teeth and other surprises in it, which he claims to have found outside of the house. Thatís when the mayhem begins along with cat-and-mouse chaces with the psychopaths. Co-writer/director Christopher Smith knows how to add just the right amount of squeamish gore without going overboard like in Hostel. Most of the comedy works and the actions scenes feel exciting, but thereís not enough imagination when it comes to the background of the sadistic psychopaths. Their motive of revenge isnít explored enough for them to be anything more than typically sadistic villains. Nonetheless, Severance maintains a relentlessly absurd plot filled with outrageously funny, tongue-in-cheek humor and macabre scenes that will keep fans of horror comedies entertained, although not particularly amazed or refreshed like when watching Shaun of the Dead.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: None is required or desired.

INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: None, as long as you suspend your disbelief.

NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 0

IN A NUTSHELL: An outrageously funny, tongue-in-cheek, macabre horror comedy. Not as imaginative or refreshing as Shaun of the Dead, but still a lot of fun.

RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater


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