Severance (2006) starring Danny Dyer, Laura Harris, Tim McInnerny, Toby Stephens, Claudie Blakley, Andy Nyman, Babou Ceesay, David Gilliam directed by Christopher Smith Movie Review

Severance (2006)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Danny Dyer as Steve in Severance

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Whilst watching horror-comedy "Severance" I was occassionaly amused, I was occassionaly shocked and as such I was occassionaly entertained. But that is the thing about "Severance" it is a movie which is almost sporadic as for the most it failed to engage me at times grabbed my attention with a darkly funny scene or a moment of horror which worked. Maybe it was the lack of originality of the storyline as we have a team building exercise in the woods which basically ends up an unoriginal horror, or maybe it was the amount of daftness which filled the gaps between being funny and frightening but something about "Severance" just didn't work for me as well as it could have.

Sent on a team building exercise to play paint ball in the woods, the staff of arms supplier Palisade Defence find themselves not only stranded when the road is blocked but also lost. Stumbling across what they believe is the lodge they are booked into for the weekend they set about their team building, lead by Richard (Tim McInnerny). But it soon becomes apparent to them all that they are not only in the wrong place but there are crazed killers loose in the woods meaning that they have to fight for their survival.

Steve with a couple of maidens in distree in Severance

I have to admit that the start of "Severance" really put me off as we have what appears to be a random scene as two blondes and a man are running through the woods obviously away from something nasty but before you know it the blonds are in a pit and down to their underwear. I pressume it's meant to be funny as it tries to take a stab at the stupidity of horror cliches but it is itself rather stupid and even when later on in "Severance" that scene is made sense off still feels rather daft.

After this random opening "Severance" quickly sets up the premise of the weapons sale team heading deep into the woods for a team building weekend where they will play paintball except things go wrong and find themselves lost and stranded. The idea of a team building weekend is good and there are some fun scenes as "Severance" basically makes fun of the idea but they are not enough to disguise the fact that things end up becoming a typical horror in the woods and as such various people die, other's get stoned and it all ends up in an attempt to survive. In a way I didn't expect that much more but what we get in "Severance" is all very unoriginal with elements seemingly cherry picked from other similar movies.

But the whole purpose of "Severance" is to be a darkly funny horror and at times it succeeds. The whole thing about Steve being stoned on magic mushrooms is stupid but the comedy which comes from his halucinations occassionaly works. And the darkness of the humour such as when one of the team gets there leg caught in an animal trap is also strangely amusing and actually quite shocking. But then these are just as many moments in the movie which attempt to deliver a lot of dark comedy which more often or not fails to work. For those whose knowledge of horror movies is short may find the horror comedy amusing but it fell short of what I anticipated..

As for the acting well once more it tends to be a case of occassionaly good but far too often unmemorable. Whilst the whole Steve being stoned thing ends up stupid, Danny Dyer is actually quite amusing with his London lad, easy going attitude and works well with Laura Harris who plays Maggie. But then the rest of the cast are pretty unforgetable except for maybe Tim McInnerny who is intentionaly annoying as the team's leader Richard.

What this all boils down to is that "Severance" occassionaly was quite good fun providing some great moments of dark humour but unfortunately what goes on inbetween those moments ends up dull and stupid. That doesn't mean that "Severance" is a bad movie, in fact I am sure there will be many who enjoy the stupidity of it all, but for me it was just about average with those good moments stopping it from being totally forgetable.