Bloody horror-comedy takes aim at office politics.
  • Review Date: September 24, 2007
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Horror
  • Release Year: 2007
  • Running Time: 96 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Corporate team members range from greedy and selfish to sweet and community-oriented; villains remain hidden by masks and are especially vicious.


Ongoing, very bloody violence includes kicking, hitting, shooting, knifing, decapitating, skinning, burning (by a flamethrower), exploding (landmine under victim's foot), dismembering, and gutting. Villains chase victims through the woods and a dark, scary house; a bus accident leaves broken, bloody bodies; corpses frequently appear in close-up, showing wounds and blood; leg is cut off by bear trap (repeated efforts to free it only mangle it) and stored in mini-fridge; victim spits up blood. Weapons include missiles, hatchets, automatic weapons, hammers, knives, ropes, and machetes.


Several scenes show strippers with breasts exposed; a man's naked behind; sexual remarks (a woman will "ride you like Seabiscuit"); sexual slang ("c--k," "winkie"); joke about a foursome.


Repeated profanity, especially "f--k," plus "s--t," "hell," and "bastard." Rude hand gesture.


The movie is about a corporate sales team that revels in profiteering. Also, references to Hilton hotels, Bacardi, and Rambo.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Cigarette smoking, plus drug use (Ecstasy, marijuana, magic mushrooms) that results in delirium.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this bloody horror-comedy isn't for kids. It's full of explicit, grotesque violence and outrageous injuries (decapitation, a severed leg); weapons range from knives, guns, and ropes to missiles, hatchets, and bear traps. Also watch out for naked breasts (and one naked male bottom) and some brief-but-boisterous sex play when the boss cavorts with sex workers. Foul language includes "f--k" and "s--t," and characters smoke (one thin woman who's concerned about her weight opts for cigarettes instead of food) and use drugs, including Ecstasy, mushrooms, and pot.

What's the story?

Traveling by bus to a retreat in the Eastern European woods, the Palisade Defence sales team cheers their latest pitch for \"anti-personnel devices you can rely on\" and looks forward to their chance to \"find out about ourselves.\" Just then, they're abandoned by their driver, who's spooked by the scary woods. Resourceful in spite of their designer suits and Yuppie suitcases, the team members make their way to their appointed lodge. Not expecting to have to endure anything worse than a game of paintball, they soon learn they're under attack by someone using real weapons. The masked, looming, implacable assailants remain unidentified (possibilities include escaped asylum inmates and war criminals), but the sales team ends up bonding under their extreme duress. Although team leader Richard (Tim McInnerny) does his best to keep his troops motivated, they're soon wobbling between fear and despair, until at last they're inspired by desperation.

Is it any good?


A rowdy horror-comedy combo, SEVERANCE takes dual aim at global arms dealing and mundane office politics. Director Chris Smith's movie is at once gleeful and graphic (the joke extends to a mock Web site extolling the firm's motto: "We're hitting a home run for freedom and giving terrorism a time out!"). No one on the team looks a likely hero: Steve (Danny Dyer) gets high on mushrooms, social-minded Jill (Claudie Blakley) seems like a poor fit for the company, and executive assistant Billy (Babou Ceesay) is African American --- and thus, according to the rules of this spoofy genre picture, doomed.

Though she initially looks wan and self-interested, it's Maggie (Laura Harris, the sweet-looking blond terrorist from Season 2 of 24) who ultimately proves angry and resilient, exhorting her colleagues to fight back ... even when one loses his leg in a bear trap, another is burned alive by a flamethrower, and others are subjected to horrific torture. While the survivors begin to show gumption, the killers remain dark, lurking, cartoonish incarnations of existential payback for the arms dealers' crass profiteering. The point may not be subtle, but it is fairly satisfying (arms dealers are, after all, pretty easy to hate). Although Severance's lost-in-the-woods terror is a familiar plot premise, it offers clever dialogue, sharp performances, and some outrageous gross-out humor. And while it's not for the faint of heart, it is, in the end, strangely heartening.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about whether this is a comedy, a horror movie, or both. What is it making fun of? What makes those topics good material for a black comedy? Can you think of other movies and TV shows that mock office politics? What about other movies that combine humor and violence? Is it OK to laugh at bloody wounds and brutal killings?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:May 17, 2007
DVD release date:September 18, 2007
Cast:Claudie Blakely, Danny Dyer, Toby Stephens
Director:Christopher Smith
Studio:Magnolia Pictures
Run time:96 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:strong bloody violence, language, drug content and some sexuality/nudity.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written bycallofduty5 May 12, 2010


To be honest i really like this movie... it has few good jokes and few scary scenes its a nice horror movie for mature audiences it has few disturbing scenes like the one where man loses his leg on bear trap or the scene where woman gets burned only disgusting ones however its no hostel or saw. worth of money watch not for teens but for mature audiences 15+
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 13 years old Written bycerealkiller189 February 11, 2012

Bloody and violent=Good,but not for kids.

I admit I have watched this when I was 10 on DVD on special edition but since I see far worse than this I could handle it,but just 15 minutes of this was enough to let me know it was a bad film.A time waster with lots of bloody violence,sex and slapstick comedy .Nuff said.
Kid, 10 years old April 9, 2008


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