Severance is a 2006 British comedy horror film written by James Moran (Doctor Who), directed by Christopher Smith (Creep, Triangle) and starring Danny Dyer, Laura Harris and Tim McInnerny. In this film, a group of office workers for military arms corporation Palisade Defence are stalked by a group of bloodthirsty, psychopathic masked ex-soldiers while on a corporate team-building retreat in the mountains of Hungary.
This film contains examples of:
- All Myths Are True: Each of the horror stories the members of the group tell one another about the retreat has an element of truth in it... even the one where the guy finds himself surrounded by hot women.
- Bear Trap: Gordon gets caught in one while the group are playing paintball and, after a gruesome sequence in which the group desperately tries to free him, ends up losing his left leg below the knee.
- Bloody Hilarious: Steve desperately searches for a place to preserve Gordon's leg so it can be reattached when they get back home. He ends up cramming it into the coach's mini fridge.
- Brick Joke: Steve hires two escorts on the Internet for "entertainment" during the trip. Later, Steve and Maggie discovers the "real" lodge, where their boss George is partying... with the escorts Steve ordered earlier.
- Bullet Holes and Revelations: Billy and Maggie are shot at by one of the killers in the Torture Cellar, but it's not until later that Billy finds out that he was hit.
- Caltrops: The coach is disabled by a spike strip as the remaining members of the group are attempting to escape the forest.
- Cruel and Unusual Death
- Double Meaning Title: The title of the movie refers to both to the termination of employment and the other kind of "termination" that happens to members of the group.
- Final Girl: Averted. One would expect only one female surviving through a film of this nature, but there's actually three.
- Heroic Sacrifice: After being mocked, spat on and pelted with objects, Richard finally steps off the land mine and takes two of the soldiers with him.
- Senseless Sacrifice: As it turns out, the mine needed a handful of agonising seconds to go off. Enough time for Richard to head for cover, had he been aware of that.
- How We Got Here: The movie opens with the two escorts and George being chased through the woods before flashing back to the beginning of the trip.
- Kill It with Fire: Jill is tied to a tree and set on fire by the soldiers.
- Landmine Goes Click: Poor Richard finds this out first hand.
- Meaningful Background Event: Before Steve and Maggie discover Gordon is missing, one of the masked soldiers can be seen quietly dragging him off in the background while they're having a smoke.
- Mood Whiplash: At one point, the film takes a break from a menacing and genuinely dramatic Chase Scene and switches to an epically hilarious scene of George trying to take out the remaining three psychos with a cutting-edge handheld missile launcher, set to the tune of Stars and Stripes Forever, but instead accidentally blows up a random commercial airliner passing overhead. Can be seen here.
- The Namesake: In the base camp near the end of the movie, one of the buildings has a very faded painting of the word "Szeveranz" on the side in large letters, referencing the movie's title.
- Off with His Head!: Harris is earlier shown discussing with Jill how a person can stay conscious for a couple of minutes after their head has been chopped off. Harris is later decapitated and his dying moments can be summed up as "huh, I was right".
- Real Life Writes the Plot: During the bus crash scene, the stunt driver deliberately hit the ramp much faster than originally instructed, creating a much more spectacular crash. Because the bus stunt could only be done once, the script had to be hastily rewritten to accommodate the characters becoming substantially more injured than originally planned.
- Shout-Out: One of the group mentions a CRM-114 "Platoon Buster" anti-personnel landmine, referencing the CRM-114 radio in Dr. Strangelove. Additionally, both films end with the song We'll Meet Again, this time as an acoustic guitar version performed by Ed Harcourt.
- Steve's dream, where he finds himself sitting in a chair in the cabin and then standing at a tree outside, is a reference to 2001: A Space Odyssey.
- One of the escorts hired earlier in the movie (see Brick Joke), Nadia, shoots the Flamethrower Killer with a submachine gun. The slow-motion shot of her shooting the rifle with her coat open and a breast partially exposed is a direct homage to the Russ Meyer movie Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!.
- The scene where Steve is fed grapes by robed girls is a shout out to A Clockwork Orange.
- The Load: Richard has a few instances where he's paralyzed by the events going on around him.
- Torture Cellar: The group discover one under the dilapidated cabin in which they're staying.
- Überwald: The movie takes place in the mountains of Hungary.