Episode 13 - Severance

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Horror is perhaps one of the toughest genres to mix with comedy. It can be done, as it was proven by magnificent gems like Army of Darkness and Braindead. While there are countless horror comedies out there, the slasher horror sub-genre is less often parodied for some reason (at least intentionally). Exceptions exist though, such as the movie Severance. Released in 2006, Severance focuses on the sales division of a weapon manufacturing company called Palisade who travel to the mountains of Eastern Europe for a team-building exercise. In other words, we get to see a bunch of guys in suits get slaughtered in typical slasher horror fashion. The perfect basis for a horror comedy.

It's not immediately obvious that this movie is a comedy though. While the opening scene certainly features enough comedic elements to make you laugh, it takes a while for the truly humorous elements to kick in. After the opening scene sets the mood with a classic disembowelment, we get to meet the main characters, Palisade's sales division, traveling on a bus in the mountains. It's your standard mix of slasher movie characters, except they're office clerks wearing suits. After a few minutes of bickering the bus comes to a sudden halt as they find a tree blocking the road. Then we witness the awkwardly hilarious scene of the bus driver screaming and swearing at the boss of the group, refusing to take the alternate path. The argument between the driver and the boss is quite entertaining just to watch, but if you speak Hungarian and actually understand what he's saying it makes the scene that much more enjoyable. The bus driver eventually kicks the whole group off the bus and they are forced to carry on walking. After a bit of walking they find their supposed destination, a broken down old lodge where they were supposed to spend the weekend. That's where the troubles begin.

Severance Trailer

Before long the group starts getting killed off one by one by a sadistic killer stalking them from the woods. Death scenes range from over the top to batshit insane including things like an extremely awkward decapitation or being burnt alive. The film features a mixture of characters including a drug addict who ends up accidentally getting high on mushrooms and the clueless boss who thinks he's the one with the biggest IQ and whose idea of a team-building exercise involves paintballing (and he cheats, of course).

Severance partially draws its humor from the fact that the characters being butchered are office clerks in suits, but the humor is not limited to this gimmick. The movie also takes jabs at film clichés (particularly in a scene near the end involving the wounded killer, one of the surviving clerks, and a shotgun) as well as providing the viewers with quite possibly the most hilarious rocket launcher scene ever shown in a comedy complete with a most inappropriate background music.

If you like horror comedies, check this one out, it is sure to entertain you. Especially if you work in an office and your boss is a dick.

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