Where we work everyday is an adventure, and you never know if this day will be your last. Words like layoff, termination and reorganization get thrown around a lot. Another popular word which can make losing your job seem quite exciting is Severance. But if the makers of this movie were real bosses I think I would just bypass the severance and just become a beach bum! Christopher Smith directed this 2006 horror flick and included some actors you've seen but probably don't know their names. Laura Harris (24, Dead Like Me) who plays Maggie is the most well known, but the entire cast does an above par job.
Palisade Defense Corporation has decided to take a few of their employees from the London office for a little retreat and team building. So they pack up their things and board a nice luxury bus for a weekend away... what could go wrong? Harris, Bill, Gordon, Billy, Richard, Maggie and Steve head of to meet the CEO of Palisade (George) in a luxury lodge somewhere in Eastern Europe. But when they come across a huge log in the road we find out the only thing the bus doesn't have is four wheel drive. Their non-English speaking driver doesn't really care to take an off-road detour and promptly ditches the employees and heads back to the nearest town. Not discouraged by the bad luck everyone grabs their things and heads for what they think is the lodge where they are supposed to meet George.
Upon their arrival at the lodge it seems that the wonderful accommodations George promised them just aren't up to their standards. The power doesn't work, there is dust everywhere, and the only thing to eat is an old meat pie. Gordon, the dorky one of the bunch takes it upon himself to cook up the pie, not mentioning where he found it. And when the druggie Steve finds a tooth in his piece, things start to take a turn for the worse. A few of the members tell stories of how these old Eastern European lodges were actually insane asylums used by the Russians to keep mentally deranged soldiers who enjoyed killing just a tad too much. But that's all just rumors and hearsay, nothing to take too seriously, right...WRONG!
When strange things start happening around their "luxury lodging", the group starts to get a little paranoid and decide that maybe it was time they start to head home. The group splits up, and that's when the gruesome discoveries start happening. Are they at the right lodge? If they are, where the hell is George? And if they aren't in the right place, where the hell are they, and why do they have a bunch of Palisade's confidential files? It's all fun and games until someone loses a leg, and then it's just fun you can't get away from fast enough.
Monkeyface: Ever since I saw the trailer for this movie I've wanted to see it. The thought of an exciting work getaway coupled with blood, guts, and a rocket launcher just appeals to my b-movie needs. The makers of the movie did an excellent job of casting for these parts. I mean who doesn't like Laura Harris?!? They also did a great job of making the movie very funny to where you almost forget you're watching a horror flick. Steve was definitely my favorite character. He always knows when to say the wrong thing, but it always made me LOL! I have a feeling he didn't start doing drugs this weekend.
Sean: The humor in this movie is probably one of the first things that drew me in. It's not too in your face. A lot of things that are actual funny in this movie aren't blatantly obvious - they're subtle and understated. There are definitely a few "laugh out loud" moments, but it's not campy. They don't do that lame self realization thing where they look and wink in the camera to let you know they're in on the joke. I also really liked that it didn't take long for the characters to be fleshed out, each one had a particular role to fill.
Monkeyface: Kudos to the group for keeping their chins up and playing paintball after Jill sees a masked man outside her window. Things were almost starting to get better until Gordon had his little mishap with the bear trap. Poor Gordo... things just never seem to go right for him from beginning to end. I know he means well, but he's just a big dork, and the dorks never seem to make it to a happy ending.
Sean: Yeah, Gordon didn't fair to well, but it was a great scene. He meets the business end of a bear trap, and while the others try to pry his leg out, they keep losing their grip and the trap keeps snapping on his leg, all the while you're watching this and wincing for them. The sick thing is, is that it's almost kind of enjoyable to watch this happen to him. It's nothing personal, he's just that sort of character.
Monkeyface: Finally, a horror movie that doesn't take things too seriously. There was a ton of good humor, much of which is relatable in the common work place. When it comes to blood and guts I think the producers found a good medium between too little and way over the top. And just when you think you've got it all figured out they throw in a subtle twist. In the decade of piss poor horror flicks Severance does a lot of things right. It's not brilliant, but just like Hostel it will make you think twice before doing anything in Eastern Europe. I'd give it a solid 3.5 bloody machetes out of 5.
Sean: I think overall, it starts out a little slow, you get a lot of action at the very beginning - like the first 5 mintues - and then the next 45 minutes or so are setting up for the really fast paced ending. That's what I liked about the movie, they tease you at the beginning, but they flesh out the excitement and they hit you with it all at once. Just when you think you have the bad guy figured out, you find out it's only the beginning. Between the horror and the black humor, I'd give Severance 4 bloody stumps out of 5.
Severance is available on DVD from Amazon.com