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Mayhem: A Fun Blend of Chaos, Humor and Nail Guns

January 13, 2018

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Mayhem tells the age-old tale of a virus infiltrating a corporate office building and infecting the employees with a rage-esque symptoms.  It is a fun romp that is bloody without going overboard and still manages to find some humanity in all the carnage. Director Joe Lynch worked marvels with a tiny budget and only 25 days to complete a film full of fights, blood, mayhem, monologues, more fights and more blood. He originally wanted to shoot in the United States but due to the lack of money the shooting schedule shrunk to 16 days. So, he went to Serbia, stretched the tiny budget, and created a winning film.

Mayhem revolves around a corporate dynamo having a very bad day. Derek (Steven Yeun) is a young up-and-comer who works for a large law firm that specializes in being an evil law firm. The day starts with him losing his coffee cup and eventually being set up for something he didn’t do. He is fired from his job (unfairly) and put in the firing line of upcoming lawsuits and reviews. Really bad news happens when everyone is infected by a rage virus that makes people lose their inhibitions and self control. The massive building is quarantined and chaos ensues  when the crazy people realize they can’t be arrested for their “temporary insanity.”  Derek teams up with Melanie (Samara Weaving – really good) so they can fight their way to the top of the building in order to clear his name and get her house back. What follows is a lot of violence, swearing and nail gun mayhem.

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What I found most refreshing about Mayhem are the new faces that were engaging in the insanity. Steven Yeun and Samara Weaving are charming together and I liked how they were given a showcase to destroy some folks. Yeun is very likable and even though he murders people unnecessarily I was always on his side. He brings a welcome amiability, and I totally believed he could scrap his way through copious amounts of corporate stooges.

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Samara Weaving (The Babysitter) has proven herself to be a game performer who rises above what could be stock roles (Watch her in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri).  She has a loose cannon vibe that makes her seem dangerous and I think she would’ve been great as Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad (Margot Robbie crushed it as well). I’m stoked to see what she does next.

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Upon first viewing I wasn’t too impressed with the set design and lighting. However, after researching the film I discovered more about the rushed schedule and limited resources which forced less-than-ideal conditions. I do think the harsh lighting (look at GIF above) could’ve been dimmed, but that is a minor quibble that doesn’t disrupt the storytelling. As MFF co-writer John mentioned in his review, Mayhem does share similarities to 28 Days Later, The Belko Experiment and The Purge, However, the similarities never bothered me because it has enough original material to stand on its own and be placed next to them. I appreciate that Lynch and Heun pushed hard to not create a “mean” film and I liked that it remained cynical while never teetering into anger and cruelness (See Belko Experiment).

If you are looking for a fun and ambitious romp I totally recommend Mayhem. I can’t wait to see what Joe Lynch does next.

 

 

 

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. John Leavengood permalink
    January 14, 2018 5:01 pm

    It’s funny how two movies (like Mayhem and Belko) can both be very, very violent, yet one (as you said) is more mean and the other…hmmmm…perhaps Mayhem was more feisty or playful about it.

    On point review, as usual. I was especially amused by the revelation of the new legal specialty: evil law. lol

Trackbacks

  1. The MFF Podcast #114: Office Horror, Mayhem (2017) & The Belko Experiment (2016) | Movies, Films & Flix

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