Severance seemed to have quite s daunting task ahead of it. After all, it’s got some pretty big shoes to fill—being hailed as the next Shaun of the Dead, the movie which blended everything that was cool about gore fests and witty English humor seamlessly into one cult classic. It proves, however, to be more than up to the task, upping the level of horror and humor quite a few notches.
Seven co-workers reluctantly head out into the Eastern Europe wilderness for an office team-building retreat. Getting lost along the way, the group finds themselves holed up in a dilapidated old shack—and hunted down like animals by a bunch of crazed militant killers.
The film—the second major directorial outing by Christopher Smith (Creep)—has its fair share of in-your-face gore that will leave you squirming in your seat, but the real strength lies in the fantastic use of the score by Christian Henson to build up the suspense. Granted, sometimes the results are intentionally anti-climatic, but that doesn’t take anything away from its ability to set a really creepy atmosphere. While the scares lose steam after we finally get a look at the killers, Severance still has enough going for it to stake its claim as one hell of a slasher flick.
The humor also stays consistently spot-on throughout. Subtle, snide and with tongue planted firmly in cheek, the script (co-written by Smith and relative newcomer James Moran) is a fine example of British comedy, reminiscent of the BBC’s The Office. The cast is excellent overall, but the one member that really stands out is Danny Dyer (Greenfingers) as the druggie of the group, Steve. He shoulders the responsibility of having the film’s most hilarious lines—and delivers them perfectly.
Sharp wit, obligatory gore and with some genuinely scary moments—Severance has done what Shaun of the Dead fans didn’t think was even possible, and raised the bar on the Brit horror/comedy mish-mash genre. Definitely for anyone who loves their humor dark and disgusting.