Joe Lynch’s Mayhem definitely lives up to its name. What it lacks in subtlety it makes up for in unmitigated blood and carnage.
Say hello to Derek Cho (Yuen) a miserable lawyer determined to climb the corporate ladder despite how miserable the job makes him. Working for Towers & Symthe Consulting – a company that in Derek’s own words are ‘corporate scumbags hired by bigger corporate scumbags.’ Derek just wants his corner office but also hates himself for wanting the corner office. It’s a hell of a morning for Derek, first Derek has to deny Melanie (Weaving) a chance at saving her own home from the bank, which angers her greatly and she is unceremoniously escorted out by security but Derek also learns that he is to be the sacrificial lamb to a company error, he decides he wants his case heard.
However there are plenty of flies in this ointment as a rampant virus (ID7), which compels you to act on your urges and lose all inhibitions – is now in the building and the building is in lockdown for the next 8 hours. Derek tries to plead his case to the company directors but is met with resistance and duly fired. However he can’t be chucked out of the building so is put in the basement until the 8 hours is up. Melanie was also thrown in the basement as the lockdown occurred before she could be removed from the building. So what are two disgruntled, uninhibited individuals going to do? Team up, tool up and fuck shit up.
Once Derek and Melanie begin their crusade there is barely a moment to catch your breath. The slicing, bashing and bloody messes that are made does not really let up. Mayhem’s violence whilst brutal is still cartoonish in nature, I think that this due to a lower budget but it doesn’t detract from the film and in fact that style suits the film’s irreverent attitude.
Yuen and Weaving make a great team, Melanie’s disdain for Derek is evident calling him a suit as an insult at every opportunity whilst Yuen’s Derek searches for redemption. Weaving (who is currently killing it in the horror landscape and other genres) has a heap of fun playing the pissed off Melanie. Her attitude and demeanour combined with a smirk makes her a very enjoyable character to be around – and she is more than handy with a Nail Gun. For me Yuen has always been entertaining to watch and a decent actor and he makes the most of Derek. Playing Derek as almost an apologist, his character is at the core of it a sad guy but when he has a chance to do some good (at least in his eyes) this inward sadness gets turned into outward rage (with the help of the virus) and its cathartic for his character. The bad guys are just bad guy templates but the film really isn’t about them.
Lynch keeps a frenetic pace and each physical blow landed is felt. As our pair of anti-heroes run a buzz saw through the corporate levels, Lynch lets the humour play out amidst the carnage. However, don’t be fooled into thinking this an comedy action though – no. This is a horror actioner that revels in its violence.
The message in the film is as subtle as the film itself – corporations are corrupt, evil places – this is true the entire world over. If you’ve ever wanted to see corporate scumbags and ivory tower assholes get their due, then Mayhem is your Woodstock. Countless corporate shills get their asses handed to them in no uncertain terms and its invigorating to watch. With the world currently stuck in the S-Bend, Mayhem is a hell of an antidote.
Mayhem opens November 10 (USA)
Ryan Morrissey-Smith | Twitter: @TigersMS78