Saturday, October 5, 2013

Halloween Horror, Day 4: Severance

We all know that scary movies are fake, but it's important to remember that some terrifying things happen in the real world. Take, for example, privately-owned, for-profit weapons and defense companies like Lockheed Martin. These companies are in the business of war; if there's no conflict, they're not making money. There's a thin line between being proactive and being majorly fucking evil, and these companies will hop right over the line for a quick profit.

So wouldn't it be satisfying to see employees of a Lockheed Martin-type company tortured and killed, perhaps with their own patented weapons technology? Enter Severance (2007).


The film follows a group of Palisade Defense (a Lockheed-esque corporation) employees on a forced bonding retreat. As someone who has been subjected to my fair share of painful retreats*, I briefly pitied these characters, and then I remembered that their company is destroying the world. It's only fitting that their deaths come from their livelihood: former soldiers turned war criminals use the instruments of destruction on the war profiteers in a deadly cat and mouse game.

But where Severance really shines is in its humor. It's not an over-the-top comedy like Shaun of the Dead. Instead, it has serious, horrific elements, but with a wink and a nod. After all, watching Gordon get his skin peeled off is intense, but I couldn't help but laugh when I saw that the killer had carved the Palisade's logo into Gordon's stomach. Many of the characters also predict their own deaths with humorous results. For example, suave Harris discusses how long a severed head stays alive after being separated from the body. After his decapitation, he can't help but smile at the camera as he proves himself right one last time.

Severed head - Severance

Part serious and part camp, Severance definitely adds some fun to my Halloween Horror lineup. Cinephiles, keep your eyes peeled for references to 2001: A Space Odyssey and one of my favorites, Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!

* For the record, this only applies to past jobs. My current job is awesome and only has good retreats. Thanks, job!

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