October Extras #22 - Severance

OCTOBER 22, 2007


Man, I love Severance, and I am really bummed it didn’t open wider. It’s a perfectly enjoyable comedy/horror movie, and I think it would have gone over well with American audiences, despite its British origins.

Also, Laura Harris is nonsensically cute.

This movie had a lot of laugh out loud moments for me, though the horror scenes are done just as well. I wasn’t a huge fan of Christopher Smith’s previous film, Creep, but I could see he had talent as a director. Which is probably why this one, which was written by James Moran (with additional writing from Smith), turned out so much better. I don’t know who wrote the funniest lines (“You found a pie?”) but whoever it was deserves an award for some of this stuff. There’s a scene where everyone is understandably panicked due to seeing a masked man outside their window, and one character says “OK, you and Jill go up the hill...”, at which point he stops and giggles to himself about his unintentional reference. Stuff like that kills me, and there are plenty of similar dry jokes throughout the film.

One of my favorite things on South Park is when they introduce a ridiculous concept that everyone assumes to be one of Cartman’s lies, and it turns out to be true. For example: when he is convinced Kyle carries a key around his neck that unlocks a chest full of “Jew Gold”, or when he tells Token that he can play bass simply because he is black. Well Severance has a few of these as well (non-racist ones in fact!), and they were just as funny the 2nd time around (the bear!!!). I’m not sure if there’s a particular name for this type of joke, but damned if I don’t wish there was a lot more of it in movies/TV. Some of the humor goes a little too far into broad territory (particularly during the dinner scene where everyone offers a theory as to the history of the lodge they are staying in), but luckily it’s usually restrained and thus funnier.

As for the horror (and action – the last 20 minutes of the film are more Rambo than Eye See You), the film is just as well done. Smith stages some terrific gore gags (not always mixed with comedy), and even elicits a genuine scare or two in these sequences. My only real concern was the sheer AMOUNT of bad guys that are introduced near the end. It seemed a bit much, though luckily the film has earned so much goodwill at that point that it was easy to forgive.

This hit DVD last week or so, and I didn’t even know about it. Like its theatrical run, it had very little promotion, which is a damn shame. I urge you all to check it out at your earliest convenience, as it’s a rare horror-comedy that works in both categories.

Also, again, Laura Harris is ridiculously cute.

What say you?


  1. This is one of my favorite films from this year, and it's actually been on DVD for over a month now I think. These days start to run together. My favorite bit had to be what I would call "The Realization after the Decapitation." Don't want to give too much of the scene away for those who haven't seen it, but the look of pleasure on the dude's face once he realizes he was correct is priceless. I hope that made some sense.

  2. Yeah! that was the type of humor I was talking about... they present something totally ridiculous, and then follow up on it. Great writing.

  3. A friend of mine reviews movies for a local weekly, so I got to watch a screener of this with him some time ago. I liked it all right (the bear trap bit had me cringing, and the dude playing the boss was one of my favorites from Blackadder who isn't currently playing a doctor in a gritty US TV drama), but I didn't just go wild over it. The sudden change from horror to war movie at the end didn't do much for me, and at times the humor was a bit too easy, requiring the characters to be a bit too dumb for my tastes.

    But again, this from a guy who loves Rebane, so take it with salt.

    Oh, and you're right about Laura Harris. But that's not really open for debate. ;)

  4. My husband and I saw something about this on Ebert & Roeper (they panned it, can't remember the guest critic) but we thought it looked great. It's on our list to watch and should be coming in the mail in the next couple of weeks. I can't wait!

  5. I really loved the use of humor with this movie, the rocket launcher was prolly' the first time in 10 years that a film actually made me laugh out loud. I was lucky enough to review this one for NetFlix and get my review up on most-helpful. Sadly this seems like a 'love it or hate it' film because many people don't appreciate the use of humor in a gore movie.

  6. LOVED this movie. I can't believe I went so long without seeing this. It was surprising at every turn, the acting was wonderful, and the horror is really done right even though there were plenty of funny moments. The rocket launcher moment -- oh my God! And one character being silently dragged out of the room while the others are talking. So, so good.

  7. HUGE fan of your blog! Not sure how I stumbled upon it but am eternally grateful. You're a riot!

    And now I like you even more because you loved Severance. Not sure how I stumbled on this film either, but the humor is right on.

    Everyone giving Laura Harris shit about being too thin. She walks away revealing a skeleton in the corner. Beautiful. Not to mention having to remove the shoe to get the severed leg in the mini-fridge.



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