Christopher Smith and James Moran
Toby Stephens as Harris
Claudie Blakley as Jill
Andy Nyman as Gordon
Babou Ceesay as Billy
Tim McInnerny as Richard
Laura Harris as Maggie
Danny Dyer as Steve
Severance Scores for Both Horror and Comedy, and is an excellent example of why British comedy is so popular and British horror is on the upswing. You will never look at team-building quite the same again.
I don’t know how many of you have been forced to endure “team building” exercises dictated by well-meaning corporate executives, but I have. I will never forget the company meeting I participated in where everybody was told to stand up and toss a ball of twine to someone else in the room while holding on to the loose end. When it was all done everybody was sweaty and tied together in a huge mass of string, but at least we better understood how we are all joined together in an intricate spider web of cause, effect, responsibility and accountability.
The only thing missing from my personal team-building experience was a machete-wielding commando. Can’t have it all.
Severance shows what happens when a group of executives for one of the world’s largest weapons manufacturers trek out to the country for a mountain-retreat team building weekend against their will.
First a fallen tree blocks the passage of the shiny bus on the way to the “luxury lodge”. Then the bus driver (who doesn’t speak English as all of the team members do) takes off and leaves them on an isolated country road. Once the group hikes the rest of the way to the lodge they are treated to a trashed dump of a place with old pies left behind filled with human teeth. The team just builds and builds.
The highlight of the trip, however, is in the form of uninvited guests… namely slasher-type commandos wielding sharp objects and firearms. The slasher team has also booby-trapped the grounds with mines, bear traps, covered pits and those rope traps that leave you hanging upside down and vulnerable.
Severance is an ensemble piece with each character adding a hilarious element to the group’s personality. There is the dim-witted boss, the boss’s yes-man, the Casanova sales-type guy, the granola peace activist (at a weapons manufacturer? Well, she doesn’t want to do MUCH damage…), the drugged-out loser and the brilliant hot chick. Just like any office I suppose… well at least mine.
Severance is very funny with each character adding excellent one-liners, but it is pretty light on the character development. Severance did not do well in the U.S. theaters and I think that is one reason why.
For the Horror Freak, however, there are suspenseful moments, a passable story and a few great gore scenes (I’m talking ‘leg chopped off by a bear trap’ here) that make this one a good rental or addition to the DVD library. There’s no sex and drug use doesn’t necessarily mean you are going to be the next victim, so there is some good formula deviation, and as a horror-comedy that is to be expected.
Watch Severance for something different. You will get a few scares, a few laughs, a few ‘eww gross’ moments and a clear view as to why British comedy is so popular and British horror is on the upswing.