Severance Christopher Smith

Severance Christopher Smith

The initial dread that Severance presents isn’t so much the inescapable brutal violence but the concept of a teambuilding holiday with your co-workers: instructional videos, sing-alongs and being at one with nature. Yeah, scary stuff. When said holiday is in the middle of the woods in an unidentified lodge covertly surrounded by the bloodthirsty Hungarian military, well, that’s actually quite worse, as it turns out. Christopher Smith builds the ultimate setting for a corporate retreat gone horribly wrong when weapons manufacturer Palisades Defence sends a team of Brits off to nowhere in a bid to boost some morale. But from the moment they get kicked off their bus they’re sitting ducks and survival of the fittest instincts kick into high gear. Using seven leads, Smith has plenty of tension and laughs to work with between the characters. From the condescending Harris to the overeager peacekeeper Gordon to the uptight Jill and of course, Steve the Cockney geezer, the cast is priceless, turning a dire situation into awkward comedy. Using a bubbly orchestral score helps ease the hopelessness of the office gang’s situation and reinforces jokes such as when Steven tells his defeated killer, "This is gonna ’urt,” before he pushes him to the ground with a knife in his arse. It’s these moments that make Severance a top-notch horror/comedy and overall, a completely satisfying film. Sadly there’s no commentary but as the case says, the DVD is "gushing with extra features.” Steve’s mushroom trip is further explored in the deleted scenes, where he talks to a cheeky deer, but there’s little else to savour. The alternative storyboard ending is quite amusing, as is "Being Danny Dyer,” which profiles Steve and his gift for the gob. A "making of” goes behind the scenes, interviewing the cast, but best of all shows a petrified male cast and crew worrying about the insects and animals. "The Genesis” reveals where the idea of the film came from, picking the brains of Smith and writer James Moran, who conceived it out of an itch to kill yuppies. (Christal)