Mayhem finds a corporate employee and a young woman on the verge of having her home foreclosed upon attempt to fight their way to the top floor of an office building amidst a viral outbreak that causes those affected to lose all self control.
Mayhem is another winning effort from Joe Lynch. It is fast-paced, gory as hell, and an unbelievably good time. Part black comedy and part horror film, Lynch deftly conveys the soul-sucking nature of corporate life and gives us a hero to cheer for in the form of Derek Cho (Steven Yeun of The Walking Dead). Yeun effortlessly conveys the exhaustion one feels when trading in their individuality for a chance at success. As such, watching Derek reclaim his identity and learning a thing or two about himself along the way is that much more enjoyable.
Yeun’s performance is perfectly complimented by a brilliant supporting turn from Samara Weaving (The Babysitter). Weaving is a plucky heroine who is just the right amount unhinged. She’s easy to get behind and represents anyone that’s been taken advantage of by an evil corporation with no regard for anything beyond their bottom line.
Director Joey Lynch makes a perfectly-timed and utterly delightful (uncredited) cameo appearance near the denouement. Lynch’s IT Guy gets some of the best lines in the film and wins the audience over within seconds of appearing onscreen. The director demonstrates expert comedic timing and makes the most of his brief appearance.
Mayhem is what The Belko Experiment should have been. I never felt invested in any of the characters in Belko but here, even the reprehensible characters were well drawn and developed enough that you could understand where they were coming from. Mayhem replaces the senseless and unnecessarily mean-spirited violence of The Belko Experiment with violence for the sake of survival (and a little revenge for good measure).
There’s plenty of onscreen carnage depicted here. But much of it takes place at the hands of a character we can identify with and (for the most part) he’s doing what he’s doing to survive. Like with most of Lynch’s output, the effects are accomplished (primarily) practically and they look stunning.
Mayhem does a fine job of chronicling the cutthroat tactics and the soullessness that are often prerequisite to success in the corporate world. There’s plenty of social commentary and smartly-placed satire throughout the film’s runtime.
Lynch’s latest film is evenly paced and keeps the viewer on his or her toes throughout the entirety of the flick. Our heroes encounter one harrowing obstacle after another but going along for the ride with them never gets dull.
My only complaint is that the voiceover narration is a little hokey and nearly everything it encapsulated could have been conveyed via dialogue between characters. But, all in all, that’s a very minor quibble.
Mayhem is now out on 4K, Blu-ray, and DVD. If you haven’t seen it, stop what you’re doing and check it out now. It’s the most fun your likely to have watching a movie this year!
WICKED RATING: 9/10
Director(s): Joe Lynch
Writer(s): Matias Caruso
Stars: Steven Yeun, Samara Weaving
Release: December 26, 2017
Studio/ Production Co: RLJE
Sub-Genre: Revenge Thriller