Review: Severance


‘Severance’ enjoyed a relatively warm welcome and a small spell at cinemas when it was released in 2006. Having missed the cinema release myself I was keen to see it when it was out on DVD.

The light hearted story follows a group of ‘ordinary’ office colleagues who are sent, rather grudgingly on a team building holiday in the remote forests of Hungary. After falling out with the non-English speaking bus driver the group are forced to walk and end up at the wrong lodge. After a short spell of deliberating the group soon find themselves in a spot of bother relating the sordid history of the arms company they all work for.

Let me begin by saying that the humour of the film is really good. It won’t have you rolling around laughing but all of the jokes work well as do the characters. All characters in the plot are uncannily realistic, with each one you will easily be able to identify someone you know that they remind you of; a premise which made the UK comedy series ‘The Office’ so successful. The dialog is well written as it the characters responses to their situations, so much so that despite relatively nothing happening for the first 45 minutes (violent relating at least) it doesn’t get boring.

It is after this that the levels of violence pick up as each members of the group find themselves confronted with deadly situations. The gore is reasonably graphic; I think you can get away with more as it’s a comedy. We are treated to a decapitation, a leg severing and several stabbings. It’s not as gratuitous as the 80s gore movies but considering it’s only got a 15 rating and it was meant to be a more accessible film it’s quite strong really.

The problem with this film is that it builds up tension and story for the first 45 or so minutes and then you think that the remaining half of the film is going to be spent dispatching the cast one by one, but, the film soon does away with all but a few of its cast and then takes a sharp turn towards an action/thriller movie. The tension soon dissipates as the plot seems to unravel. Whilst the film doesn’t by any means loose it it’s feels a little like it lost its way or the writers were really pushed to think up something to fill the remaining half an hour.  Never the less I think you will remain entertained and more mainstream viewers might even enjoy an increase of pace, a little fighting and gun play.

Overall ‘Severance’ delivers a mix of horror and comedy which very satisfying. Despite the last half an hour of the film being a little disappointing when compared to the first hour or so it still delivers some really quality little pieces of dialog, events and camera work. If you like comedy, with a splash of gore and suspense (similar I guess to ‘Shaun of the Dead’) then you will definitely enjoy this.

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