If a weekend of team building exercises in the woods sounds like your personal idea of torture, spare a thought for the poor pen pushers of Severance
. As if the obligatory paintball and trust exercises werent enough, theres a killer lurking outside their cabin--a killer holding a grudge against the unsuspecting employees of Palisade Defense...
Severance is one of the best British horror movies to come out of the last couple of years. Its smarter than it has any right to be; screenwriter James Moran neatly sidesteps the numerous clichés littering the genre, balancing eye-watering gore with almost surreal humour, while Creep helmer Chris Smiths assured direction sells even the daftest (and cruellest) moments.
Smith also draws great performances from a talented cast, including Dead Like Mes Laura Harris, Black Adders Darling Tim McInnerny, and Danny Dyer of Mean Machine and The Football Factory.
Horror fans will lap this up; those lacking an iron stomach might watch some scenes from behind laced fingers, but will appreciate the fast-paced action and black humour nonetheless.--Sarah Dobbs
United Kingdom released, PAL/Region 2 DVD: LANGUAGES: English ( Dolby Digital 5.1 ), English ( Subtitles ), WIDESCREEN (2.35:1), SPECIAL FEATURES: Alternative Footage, Cast/Crew Interview(s), Commentary, Featurette, Interactive Menu, SYNOPSIS: Ever since Bram Stoker gave Count Dracula a Transylvanian lineage, Eastern Europe has been a familiar setting for horror tales. 'Severance' continues the tradition by turning a corporate retreat in a Hungarian forest into a bloody game of whack-a-mole. (Team building and paintballing are so last year.) Our unsuspecting moles are a grumpy group of pencil-pushers employed by an international weapons manufacturer who find themselves marooned in a rundown lodge. Outside are land mines, bear traps and balaclava-wearing commandos; inside are spiders, rotting floorboards and a file cabinet with dusty records of the attackers, who are either asylum escapees or Balkan war criminals. Kind of a Hobson's choice, really. Briskly directed by Christopher Smith (who also contributed to the screenplay), 'Severance' overcomes its narrative deficiencies with inventive bloodletting and no small amount of wit. (A scene involving resourceful call girls and a lifeline made of lingerie is particularly impressive.) ...Severance