Severed (2005)

If you go down to the woods today …… you may stumble upon a group of tree-fellers turned zombies who will probably want to eat your brains. And thus goes the plot of this straight to DVD opus. And when I say opus, I mean steaming crap-pile.

I’m considering writing a book solely on this film entitled ‘Zombie Movie Protagonists and The Inexplicably Stupid Things They Do’. Ok, so I’m not, but I could and it would rival War & Peace in terms of length.

The characters in this film fall into two groups, those that are working in the forest to cut down trees and those that are protesting against said cutting down of trees. Needless to say, after the inevitable zombie outbreak occurs this ragtag bunch of warring people have to combine forces to stay alive. Or in the case of this flick, to do really braindead things that, largely, lead to them or someone else becoming a zombie buffet.

In this films defense, the director appears to be aiming high, although all his attempts fall very short of the mark. There is little to no originality to be found anywhere; all the characters, scenarios and dialogue are recycled from older, better zombie movies and the over-use of shaky-cam is, at times, infuriating. Most of the acting is sub-par, even from Sarah Lind who showed tonnes of promise in low-budget Canadian film Fetching Cody. The characters are all sinfully two-dimensional and the group of unwashed, hippy types out to save the forest are so incorrigibly sanctimonious that you hope and pray they all suffer a premature, preferably violent, death. In fact, there’s no real character that you feel inspired to root for, if there had been, the whole thing might not have felt like such a wasted opportunity.

It’s difficult to decide whether many of the set-pieces are an homage to another film, or a re-hashed version of another film. The entire thing certainly feels very derivative and I suffered from a number of ‘deja-vu’ moments which made me wonder whether I’d actually seen Severed before or just the particular film it was borrowing from at the time.

One thing to be said in the films defence however, is the excellent and plentiful use of good old fashioned fake blood and gore! They filmmakers never skimp on the red stuff and some of the deaths do go a small way to making up for the seen-it-all-before plot and cliched characterisation. It never looks particularly real but it’s good enough to put a smile on any gorehounds face.

To sum the whole thing up; if you’ve seen more than five zombie movies in your time on this Earth then you’ll be familiar with everything that happens in this flick. I can think of dozens of zombie flicks I’d rather have been watching but when all is said and done, it’s still better than Day Of The Dead 2 : Contagium. Make of that what you will.

Rating: ★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

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