"The Office" meets Hostel in Severance, a horror-comedy about a group of officer workers looking to partake in a weekend retreat and instead find themselves the target of several insane inmates who live in the woods. So, in essence, the people aren't inmates, but they're crazy sons-of-bitches.
Severance is a British film, and as such, it has British humor. I've become more accustomed to British humor over the last few years, thanks to such shows as, well, "The Office" (the UK version), but the humor in Severance, by and large, went right over my head. Or, maybe it's just not that funny. Either way, I didn't laugh too much, despite the story containing such silly antics as the survivors coming across the real place where they are supposed to be staying late into the movie (when they've been holed up in a piece-of-shit place the rest of the time), a man watching himself walk across the room due to the fact he's on shrooms, and a few other goofy tidbits. By and large, Severance doesn't balance its horror or comedy very well, and neither aspect is especially mesmerizing.
If Severance isn't funny, then it must rely on its horror to satisfy the audience, and while there are some bloody and messed up parts, there just aren't enough. The highlight is a rather annoying man stepping on a bear trap and eventually having his leg break off as a result, but the movie falls victim to typical slasher conventions. There are no remarkably entertaining deaths, nor are any of the characters so amusing that you really wish they would survive. All in all, the movie isn't scary, isn't exciting and isn't all that entertaining.
Despite its shortcomings, Severance does move at a fairly decent pace. It doesn't hold one's attention greatly, but I could certainly think of worse things to watch on a rainy afternoon. Still, Severance is clearly trying to copy the formula of Shaun of the Dead by merging comedy and horror in a satirical, non-spoof way, but the result is a dead-on-arrival slasher flick, nothing more.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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