Mayhem (2017)

mayhem

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A law firm company goes awry when a virus hits in this genre mashup film from director Joe Lynch, which seems to have a little message behind it.

Derek Cho is a legal analyst who has risen through the ranks from his humble beginnings to his current position. However, in one fell swoop, his life is about to take a serious turn as he is fired for allegedly botching a major case that cost the firm seven figures. The only problem is that Derek had nothing to do with the case. Regardless, Derek is made the scapegoat and is ready to pack his things when disaster strikes.

A SWAT team emerges and surrounds the buildings. Reports of a virus that causes rage and inhibitions, known as the ID-6 Virus, has resulted in the law firm being quarantined for eight hours. The entire office, including both Derek and former client Melanie Cross, who holds a grudge against the firm for the foreclosure of her home, has been infected. The higher ups, knowing Derek can end up being a whistleblower who can destroy the firm’s reputation, decide to put a price on Derek’s head. Derek and Melanie decide the only way to survive is to join forces and confront everyone who stand in their way.

This collaboration between director Joe Lynch and writer Matias Caruso is perhaps one of the craziest movies today, bringing to mind the madness of a Troma film with the likes of something expected from the great Takashi Miike. The film meshes the likes of Quarantine and The Office with its tale of a law firm forced to be quarantined due to an outbreak of a rage virus. Normally in films like this, it usually becomes a horror film. This film’s only horror element seems to be with everyone having one red eye, an effect of the virus aside from the insane violent antics.

However, the film seems to be more about corruption within corporations and how the higher ups will do anything to keep their reputation, even by making scapegoats out of the hardest worker in the company. In the case of Steven Yeun’s Derek Cho, he is the type of person who worked so hard to get where he is at that he shunned pretty much everything else. Yeun, who will forever be known as the innocent Glenn in The Walking Dead, goes a full 180 when the virus changes him from scapegoat to potential whistleblower. In other words, he goes from the hunted to the hunter and does it so well when he sends video calls to the higher ups with his plans to stop them. However, it isn’t so much that Derek wants to be a whistleblower. He just has had enough of his bosses so much that the virus will want him to do the one thing that all workers want to do when it comes to crappy bosses: destroy them!

One cast member who truly is relishing in the moment is Samara Weaving, who takes a more subtle approach as Melanie. And when we mean subtle, we mean that in the most maniacal way possible. Having a resemblance to Margot Robbie, it is like Melanie is channeling her inner Harley Quinn as she enjoys beating up and killing those who stand in her way in what she perceives is a justification of revenge for what the law firm had done to her, and enjoys it to a tree. Steven Brand definitely brings that mastermind type to his role of law firm CEO Towers while at times, it looks more like Caroline Chikezie seems to act like the real puppetmaster at times.

The violence of the film is pretty brutal and at times over the top with a Takashi Miike-feel to it as we see Yeun and Weaving use a barrage of power tools as their weapons of choice against the law firm workers who are either authoritative figures or those heavily influenced by said figures. Hammers, nail guns, scissors, and even a small circular saw are just a taste of what to expect to be used in the film as blood flies everywhere. Not so much limbs coming off. However, the film does employ a brawling fight style when it comes to the fight scenes with Yeun obviously meant to be a punching bag uses whatever he can to protect himself before the quarantine is over. On the upside, the virus does enable him to take a beating and keep on ticking!

Mayhem truly lives up to its title, but in a dark comedy kind of way that still proves to be a heck of a ride with Steven Yeun and Samara Weaving as the driving forces in their roles of two people who have been screwed over by the corporation and have had enough. In this case, it is good that a virus amplifies that plan for vengeance and justice.

WFG RATING: A

RLJE Films presents a Circle of Confusion production in association with Royal Viking Entertainment. Director: Joe Lynch. Producers: Mehrdad Elie, Sean Sorensen, Parisa Caviani, Lawrence Mattis, and Matt Smith. Writer: Matias Caruso. Cinematography: Steve Gainer. Editing: Josh Ethier.

Cast: Steven Yeun, Samara Weaving, Steven Brand, Carolin Chikezie, Kerry Fox, Dallas Roberts, Mark Frost, Claire Dellamar, Andre Eriksen, Nikola Kent, Lucy Chappell, Olja Hrustic.

RLJE Films will be releasing the film in select theaters, VOD, and Digital HD on November 10.

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