If you’re like me, you’ve probably heard some good things about Joe Lynch’s latest feature, Mayhem. If you’re not like me and don’t feel the constant drive to find and watch new horror, spending hours reading about upcoming genre films, and stalking horror writers and creators on Twitter, then good for you. Your hobby-life balance sounds pretty healthy. I guess there’s also a chance that you’re a casual film fan who managed to hear about Mayhem through some other channel. Or maybe you haven’t heard of it at all. No matter what camp you fall into, you’re here now so you might as well read what I have to say about it, right? Let’s get into it.
Derek (played by Steven Yeun. you know, that guy from that thing) is an up-and-comer at the mega law firm where he works. The one huge win under his metaphorical belt involved him arguing successfully that a client who was infected with a disinhibiting virus wasn’t responsible for his violent actions while under the influence of the infection. On the same day he’s tasked with taking on a foreclosure case against Melanie (Samara Weaving), he’s framed by a senior co-worker for lawyerly neglect (pretty sure that’s the term for it) and fired. Before he can leave (or lawyer-argue his case to the bosses) the building is put on lockdown due to an outbreak of the disinhibiting virus. The same virus that would allow him to beat the bosses to death consequence-free! Will he become vengeance? Will Melanie’s beef with the firm make her a good ally? Watch and see!
It’s easy to see why there’s a buzz about this movie coming out of the festival circuit. It’s a no holds barred actioner with plenty of clever violence and rampant murder for the horror fans. It’s frenetic pace and smirky sense of humor make it well worth checking out. Especially for fans of creative kills and creative weapons. The office quickly erupts into Thunderdome level pandemonium, with everyone’s tidy office clothes and polite demeanor getting shoved through the shredder (office thing!). Blood sprays, office supplies fly, and key cards are sought and procured. It plays out very much like a videogame. There are levels to beat complete with mini-bosses and a final boss battle. Lynch’s character development is videogame-like too. It’s effective and efficient, eschewing backstory and emotional depth for caricature for secondary characters. Which may not be enough for viewers looking for a more from a story, but it works perfectly for the tone of the film. It’s a none-too-serious bit of fun that packs its runtime with… mayhem. (OH! that’s why it’s called Mayhem!)
The Final Cut: Mayhem is a fun ride of a movie with plenty of creative blood-soaked set pieces and wildly over-the-top characters. It definitely lives up to its title.