SEVERANCE
© 2007 by C.E. Murphy. All Rights Reserved.
L to R: Laura Harris as Maggie and Danny Dyer as
Steve in
SEVERANCE
Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

Leave it to the British to make a cheeky horror
film that plays like the bastard offspring of the
horror film
HOSTEL with witty television series
THE OFFICE (and I mean the UK version not its
American cousin).

SEVERANCE takes the tried and true formula of
placing a motley group of individuals -- in this
case members of a sales team of a weapons
supplier -- and plunking them down in a remote
area where there may or may not be someone or
something bent on a killing rampage.

In this case, the group is led by the seemingly
incompetent Richard (Tim McInnerny), the sort
of ineffectual, clueless boss that has become
almost a cliche. The other members include the
stoner slacker Steve (Danny Dyer, strongly
veering into being pigeonholed as a "type"), the
American girl Maggie (Laura Harris), the office
yes man Gordon (Andy Nyman), the token black
Billy (Babou Ceesay), the staid, plain but
intelligent girl (Claudie Blakley) and the
pompous and insufferable yuppie (Toby
Stephens).

As with any genre movie, one can sit back and
wait until the killer or killers begins to pick off
the cast one by one. At least these filmmakers
did not do the obvious and start with the
minority -- a cliche in practically every other
slasher film. In fact, once the killing spree
begins, the film's tone shifts imperceptibly from
crass humor to terror. It's a marriage that isn't
always easy to pull off but director Christopher
Smith manages it fairly well.

SEVERANCE goes a bit weak in its attempt to
mine the political subtext -- the weapons
makers being slaughtered is meant to be some
sort of commentary that doesn't quite gel. On
the level of a pure slasher film, it also doesn't
quite add up, but its flaws are compensated by
a strong cast and a very unique and dark sense
of humor.


Rating:                C+
MPAA Rating:        R for strong bloody
                           violence, language,
                           drug content and
                           some sexuality &
                           nudity
Running time:      90 mins.


Viewed at Magno Review Two