Directed by Joe Lynch
Written by Matias Caruso
Starring Steven Yeun, Samara Weaving, Steven Brand, Caroline Chikezie, Kerry Fox, Dallas Roberts, Mark Frost, Claire Dellamar, André Eriksen, Nikola Kent, Lucy Chappell, Olja Hrustic, Bojan Peric, Annamaria Serda, Jovana Prosenik, Nina Senicar, Scott Alexander Young
Reviewed by M. L. Miller aka Ambush Bug
While we might have a DANTE’S PEAK/VOLCANO, DEEP IMPACT/ARMAGEDDON, GHOSTBUSTERS/huge pile of donkey shit-style synergy zeitgeist thingy happening here with MAYHEM and THE BELKO EXPERIMENT, Joe Lynch’s new corporate carnage film is a dream come true for anyone who has sat across the desk from their boss and wanted to strangle the living shit out of them. This film is pure, uncut catharsis for the frustration that is going on in the world around us at the moment. It’s one of those films that makes you feel rode hard and put away wet by the end, but are damn thankful for watching it because now you have a hell of a tale to tell your grandkids. Put simply, MAYHEM is the tits!
THE WALKING DEAD’s Steven Yuen (GLENNNNNNNNN!!!) stars as Derek Cho, an upwardly mobile corporate man who lost the time and energy to question why he is so eager to get to the top long ago. Going through the motions of his corporate job of buying and selling lives at the swipe of a pen stroke, Derek is visited by Melanie Cross (Samara Weaving) who pleads to have Derek’s corporation give her clients a little extra time to pay the banks so they don’t lose their home. Meanwhile, plans are set in motion to make Derek the scapegoat for a blunder made by the top brass of the organization. But amidst this corporate intrigue, a virus that has been spreading across the world has somehow infiltrated the office building. With those infected acting out on their most base and primal of impulses, the government quarantines the building until the virus burns itself out. Meanwhile, the people inside of the office building, including Derek and Melanie, are tearing, rampaging, and fucking themselves apart. With the bigwigs locked away on the top floor until the smoke clears, Derek and Melanie fight their way up each level of the building in order to confront the fat cats who have wronged them. Shit gets brutal. Shit gets bloody. Shit gets real.
Over the opening moments of MAYHEM, Gioachino Rossini’s “The Thieving Magpie” is played which was made recognizable from A CLOCKWORK ORANGE. This indicates that we should prepare ourselves for a little bit of the ultra-violence and this film does not fail to deliver on that promise. From beginning to end, MAYHEM is fast and furious with biting office banter and rapid fire carnage. It’s a caffeine and cocaine fueled gauntlet where the cutthroat tactics of the board room take a literal and gratuitously physical form. Lynch is able to deliver an adrenaline fueled, gritty and gory film that doesn’t pull punches. But this isn’t just ugly violence. It’s smartly funny as well, which makes this more of a raucous celebration of violence than a condemnation of it. I love the way Lynch makes us wince and laugh at the same time over and over again.
I was also surprised at how well Yuen carried this entire movie. While he was often reduced to a sappy and whiney character in THE WALKING DEAD, here Yuen shines with charisma and chutzpah. He’s awesome at delivering the funny and savage when doling out the hurt on the suits above his pay grade. Samara Weaving channels her inner maniac here as Melanie. She’s both crazy and sexy as she wails away at folks with a hammer and nail gun and is a fantastic partner in crime for Yuen’s Derek. Rounding out the cast is Steven Brand as the coke snorting, golf club whacking Big Boss at the top of Derek and Melanie’s violent ascension and Yuen’s THE WALKING DEAD co-star Dallas Roberts standing out as The Reaper, the company’s HR man who handles all of the firing. Both actors are fantastic an distinct obstacles for Derek and Melanie to ram into.
It’s OFFICE SPACE meets THE RAID infected with the virus from 28 DAYS LATER are the core components that make up this potent cocktail of hardcore violence. Bitingly funny, rapidly edited, intensely action-packed, genius-ly satirical, MAYHEM is everything you want in onscreen ultra-violence. Extra points for the awesome fight set to Faith No More!
As soon as you can, dive into MAYHEM and splash around in the beautiful carnage Joe Lynch hath birthed!