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May 2007


By Kam Williams


Distributor: Magnolia Pictures
Director: Christopher Smith
Screenwriter: Christopher Smith, James Moran
Cast: Danny Dyer, Laura Harris, Tim McInnerny, Toby Stephens, Claudie Blakley, Andy Nyman, Babou Ceesay, David Gilliam
Rated R for sexuality, nudity, profanity, drug use and graphic violence.
In English, Hungarian and Russian without subtitles
Running time: 90 minutes



Palisade Defence, a state-of-the-art weapons manufacturer, has been shipping its goods to international hotspots anywhere on the globe for 75 years. As a reward for their hard work, CEO George Cinders (David Gilliam) has decided to treat his seven-member sales force to a team-building weekend at the company’s newly-built, luxury corporate retreat tucked away in a mountainous region of Eastern Europe located somewhere near Transylvania.

However, their plans for a relaxing getaway go awry before they even arrive, when the bus shuttling them from the airport to the spa can’t negotiate its way around a tree which has fallen in the road. Proceeding through the forest on foot, it is easy for the group to sense the practically palpable tension in the ominous atmosphere.
Led by their ineffective boss, Richard (Tim McInnerny), this ill-fated motley crew of readily identifiable archetypes includes his hyper sidekick, Gordon (Andy Nyman); Harris (Toby Stephens), the sarcastic smart-ass; skeptical Maggie (Laura Harris); Jill (Claudie Blakley), the brainy blonde; Steve (Danny Dyer), the hallucinating, recreational drug abuser; and Billy (Babou Ceesay), the obligatory black guy who will be the first person to be knocked-off, if this high-attrition rate horror flick follows the tried and true formula.

The action opens innocently enough, with the vacationers participating in a friendly game of paintball. But it isn’t long before the weapons dealers find themselves actually being hunted for real by a gang of goons with a grudge.

Severance unfolds much like an installment of the Scream trilogy, except starring adults instead of teens. The film cleverly mixes humorous asides in with moments of sheer terror, such as when our heroes try to defend themselves with a prototype of a surface-to-air missile only to have it miss its target and fly up into the heavens and down a passing jetliner.

A comical cautionary tale which ought to trigger a little paranoia in the souls of any advocates of the Military-Industrial Complex.