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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Severance
Severance
Magnolia Home Entertainment // R // September 18, 2007
List Price: $26.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Nick Lyons | posted October 30, 2007 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:
After "Shaun Of The Dead" successfully blended horror and comedy, it was obvious filmmakers were going to cash in by trying to create their own "Shaun." The latest imitator ("Severance") has a promising premise, but the story's tone is all over the place.

The story: As the employees of Palisade defence (a weapons company) venture off on a team building vacation (complete with paintball games), the workers are dropped off and left stranded at a cabin in the middle of the forest. As time goes by, the people begin to realize that they are not alone and are being hunted by insane killers. Will the employees be able to go back to work or will their employment be terminated?

"Severance" is billed as a "horror comedy," but it's neither horrific nor comedic... it's just flat. The characters are all boring cliches (How many times can a moviegoer see the druggie, the hot chick, and the geeky characters?), the story is crammed with filler dream sequences and unfunny gags (the pie scene especially), and the script has clearly been re-written so often that it has lost its identity. Is the movie a slasher? A witty satire? Torture porn? Your guess is as good as mine. If screenwriter James Moran spent more time on reworking the script instead of worrying about appealing to fans of "Shaun Of The Dead" or "Hostel," the film may have had a better chance of working. Instead, it feels sloppy, incomplete, and dull. I never knew a slasher could put me to sleep until I watched "Severance." It's that uninvolving.

While the cast may deliver solid performances and have some talented actors and actresses (namely Laura Harris and Toby Stephens), I never got a sense of any chemistry between them. Looking at the extra features, they all seemed to have a better time together when they weren't acting. It's kind of sad, but I felt there was better chemistry between the office workers going paintballing in the short scene in "Friday The 13th Part 6: Jason Lives."

The DVD

Video:
The 1.78:1 widescreen picture quality is decent enough, although the picture did appear a bit fuzzy at times. I also felt the grayish look to the film was a bit unappealing to the eyes (even in HD).

Sound: The English 5.1 Dolby Digital track is acceptable. The music and dialogue were never hard to hear. A 2.0 Dolby Digital track is also included on this disc.

Extras: * "The Genesis Of Severance" (5 minutes) discusses the various stages that the script went through.

* "The Making Of Severance" (35 minutes) mainly shows set footage and the crew having a good time.

* A 12 1/2 minute "Behind The Scenes" featurette in which the cast and crew play it up to the camera.

* 9 deleted scenes (running 8 1/2 minutes). Some of these scenes should have been included in the film as there is more humor here (such as the talking deer and Antonio Banderas joke).

* 1 minute and 40 seconds of outtakes.

* A very brief alternate ending storyboard showing the surviving characters about to die.

* Previews for "Moving McAllister," "Exiled," "Weirdsville," "Murder Party," and HDNET.

* A nearly 3 minute intro sequence animatic.

* A 5 1/2 minute featurette titled "Being Danny Dyer" that basically shows the actor being vulgar.

* A 2 minute "Danny Fight Scene" rehearsal.

* "Crashing A Coach" and "Additional Footage Of Crashing A Coach" (10 1/2 minutes total) go into great depth about the bus crash sequence.

* A featurette looking at the effects problems the crew encountered called "Not So Special Effects" (5 minutes).

* The full "Palisade Corporate Video" that was quickly shown in the movie.

* A lively audio commentary with Christopher Smith, Danny Dyer, Tim McInnerny, Andy Nyman, Babou Ceesay, John Frankish, and James Moran. The gang talk about shooting in Hungary, the stinky cheese, and often point out details that I didn't notice. The commentary is more entertaining than the film as the group makes the film seem funnier than it really is.

Final Thoughts:
"Severance" may have a fully loaded DVD, but the film itself is a bloody mess. Skip it.

Film and television enthusiast Nick Lyons recently had his first book published titled "Attack of the Sci-Fi Trivia." It is available on Amazon.com.

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