Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Don't you just hate it when you are out in the woods on a "team building exercise" and you inadvertently step in a bear trap? That will surely ruin your day. Bear traps are just one hazard that the employees of Palisade Defense encounter in the British horror film Severance.

The seven employees have been sent to a lodge somewhere in Eastern Europe (could be Hungary, could be Serbia) to engage in activities meant to improve their working relationship and productivity. The seven include a variety of stereotypical characters: the ineffective boss who's anxious not to offend; the druggy slacker; the hot blond chick; the nerdy uptight girl (who looks like a cross between Velma from Scooby-Doo and Sonia from Eastenders); the smarmy suckup, etc.

The group is going along in a bus toward the lodge when they are stopped by a tree across the road. There is a crossroad nearby, but the bus driver claims to have heard bad things about what goes on "down there" and refuses to take that road. The boss talks everyone into abandoning the bus and walking to the lodge on the "shortcut." Why, once they were on foot, they couldn't just climb over the tree and continue on to their final destination was not clear. Anyway, they eventually arrive at a run down building that they assume must be the lodge.

Things get weird the first night when smarmy-suckup-guy "finds" a pie and serves it up to his co-workers, one of which finds what appears to be a human tooth in his first bite. Things only get worse from there. During a team-building paintball exercise, one of the group encounters the bear trap, and things just get worse from there on out.

It seems there is a group of former mercenaries who have escaped being hunted down and killed by forces using equipment from our old friends Palisade Defense. Helpfully, the bus the group travels on had the big Palisade logo on the back, so the deranged killers have no problem identifying their next targets.

What makes this film a bit different from other horror films are the occasional flashes of humor and odd situations that occur. The film has been compared to Shaun of the Dead, and while not as good, it does have similarities. Several of the employees meet grisly ends, as do some attackers (how many of them were able to hide out in the woods, anyway?).

Overall, the film was enjoyable, if somewhat predictable. The gore wasn't terribly overdone and there were some giggles throughout.

Final Verdict for Severance: Three Gherkins, for being an amusing slasher-flick


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I'm a librarian who is interested in all things British. I try to visit London as often as possible, and am always planning my next trip. I lived in Sweden for a few years with my Swedish husband, so the occasional Swedish reference may occur . . .

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The Gherkin Scale

5gherkinsb Brilliant!

4gherkinsb Good, innit?

3gherkinsb Fair to middlin'

2gherkinsb Has some good points

1gherkin Oi! Wot you playin' at?

0gherkins3Don't be givin' me evils!

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