Bring down the entire damn house! The title, which is somewhat vague, doesn’t have a lot to do with the plot – which is actually about a man who works in a sleazy legal firm which decides to take on the executives when a virus causes everyone to go mad. I watched this film at 1AM with a bunch of horror lovers at the Sitges Film Festival, which is the best time and location to see this kind of film, because they filmed at all the proper moments. Should you see this one at home, it simply won’t hit as hard, but it is still a totally entertaining horror action comedy mashup using a worthwhile message in the end of this.
The idea for Mayhem is rather simple, enriched with some interesting characters. A corporate office building is quarantined if a virus infects everyone and makes them go mad, beating people up or acting out their worst impulses. One of those workers is Derek Cho, performed by Steven Yeun, who has spent years slowly working his way up the corporate ladder.
But he’s also gradually beginning to crack and watch that this civilization for what it is – petty, greedy, morally emptiness, a poor culture that individuals accept in hopes of a wealthy and glamorous life. When the virus takes over, he uses the chance to fight his way into the executive package and also take them out, literally beating the idiots around him that suck up to the corporate existence. It is a cathartic takedown of the greedy corporate culture which pervades our world today. And it’s such a nice pleasure to see him deliver down it.
Yes, I’ll admit that Mayhem is a tad cliche, somewhat cheesy, a tad cheap, but it doesn’t eliminate the amusement of it. Plus, it is the perfect fuck one to corporate culture. So you know what, it warrants a few acclaim for being so daring as to stick with its guns (and knives and brass knuckles along with other office weapons) and deliver entirely on the idea that this life so many are brainwashed into living is really terrible. Bad for you personally, and for everyone, and we need to open our eyes and wake up and stop giving to it.
Mayhem beats this down greed using a gloriously bloody hammer, and yes the violence is excessive (and at times hilarious), but Joe Lynch wouldn’t have it any other way. This is his style, his artistic expression. Cho teams using a client named Melanie, played with Samara Weaving, and their lively assists push the message a little more.
Lynch’s Mayhem won’t impress in its technical elements, but it is still entertaining and engaging. How he lets the corporate culture overflow into excess is a good setup for its endless violence that he unleashes. As much as it’d be best to experience this in a theater full of genre-loving movie fans, this movie is probably best experienced with friends who will laugh at anything and enjoy some Hollywood violence.
Yeun provides a solid, well-rounded performance as the lead character, and the rest of the cast follows in suit, with over-the-top performances that only make it even more amusing. Have fun.