Severed: Forest of the Dead
Carl Bessai and Travis McDonald
Leanne Adachi as Stacey
J R Bourne as Carter
Michael Teigen as Luke
Paul Campbell as Tyler
Julian Christopher as Mac
By The Zombie Master Lee Roberts
Severed: Forest of the Dead is a good movie with lots of zombie-like activity. In spite of following most of the rules of a good zombie movie very well, this film has no zombies in it…
I have seen an increase of movies that claim to have zombies in them. Some have been good (28 Days Later) and some have been bad (Trespassers) but the one constant among them is that they are confused about what a zombie is. Anybody who knows me knows that I am an outspoken advocate against the negligent proliferation of false information concerning the zombie, both in how they are made and how they are killed. It is because of this that I was torn after watching Severed. Let me explain.
Severed: Forest of the Dead starts by introducing us to two groups of people: workers for a logging company and tree huggers. The loggers are doing their job and the tree huggers are trying to keep them from doing it. While running a chainsaw through a downed tree, one of the workers gets a nasty injury when the saw comes back at him and cuts his shoulder. It seems someone has placed a spike in the tree. Luke (Michael Teigen) and Mac (Julian Christopher) come to his rescue and witness him going into what seems like a seizure before he starts to transform.
It is at this time that we are introduced to the absentee owners in charge of the logging company. We also learn that the company has been running chemical tests on the trees to enhance there growth. Now they have lost contact with the workers and the owner decides that this would be a fantastic time for his son Tyler (Paul Campbell) to get his hands dirty and find out what is going on.
Upon Tyler’s arrival he discovers that the tree enhancing chemical has changed the loggers into flesh eating creatures. He is rescued by Luke who, along with Mac, Stacey the lead tree hugger (Leanne Adachi), and Carter the wimpy chemist (JR Bourne), have managed to survive against the flesh eaters.
What follows is your typical “have to get away before we are eaten” movie that uses (or steals) scenes from other “have to get away before we are eaten” movies.
I found it very relaxing to sit down and watch the lumbering, moaning, and mindless creatures focus on the one single task of finding and eating human flesh. As a matter of fact, it reminded me of a zombie film. There is the rub. In a moment of weakness I almost decided to make an exception to the primary zombie rule for Severed: Forest of the Dead. Although there was nothing particularly original about the story except location, it followed the zombie rules very well, that is all but one. The chemical did not kill, just transformed. The rules are clear that for a zombie to be a zombie it must die first, and the creatures in Severed did not.
I was even trying to make up reasons for this. I watched Severed two more times in an attempt to make my hypothesis work, but luckily I was brought back to my senses. Severed has a lack of visual gore and an ending that made no sense, and this helped me realize that if I allowed one movie to break this sacred of all rules then I would have to allow others to as well… and that I cannot do.
If you are looking for a film to bring intrigue and increase your moral aptitude, this ain’t it. But if you are looking for around an hour and a half of mindless carnage then Severed: Forest of the Dead is a decent “not a zombie” zombie movie. Could we be seeing the birth of a new category? We will have to wait and see.