Welcome witches and warlocks,
Today I will be reviewing the suspense horror feature MAYHEM by director Joe Lynch. To best describe the story, I will use my own plot description:
“A virus that causes people to act on their wildest impulses infects a corporate law office. Now a former lawyer and a woman denied help from the office begin to cut a bloody path up the corporate ladder.”
This film grabbed my attention right from the very beginning. It quickly, efficiently laid out the premise, with a self-assured humor that had me fully entranced. I wanted to see where this went, I wanted to spend time in this world, and I was looking forward to seeing how this twisted sense of humor would be represented.
The amazing part of this rapid fire opening is that the pace never really slows down. Sure, along the way we do get some character moments, but these are mostly confined to knowing looks, one person saving the other, or quick dialogue exchanges that happen in between and during fighting. By the end, we know these characters well, but we have still seen a lot of crazy carnage along the way.
Listen, the violence here is absolutely outlandish, which is perfectly in line with the devil may care tone. There is a level of fun to the violence as they approach it with such glee that it is nearly infectious. The interesting part is that even with all the blood flying about, they still manage to make at least one death a bit sad in its sudden cruelty. This death spurs much of the action from that point on as the memory of that particular character’s fate intensifies our hero’s quest to bring down his corporate overlords.
One would be hard pressed not to read a certain amount of class issues with this piece as everything is structure around those scorned by the company or the lower level employees trying to gain access to the upper echelons. They achieve this by attaining access cards from the next employee above them to advance to the next level on the elevator. Meanwhile, the corporate big wigs sit up at the top of the tower ordering the deaths of those below without ever getting their own hands dirty. It was well handled in the sense that we as the audience are not forced to read into the subtext in any particular way, but those who want it to be a political statement will find plenty to chew over.
Working in tandem, Steven Yeun and Samara Weaving are so much fun to watch. Their barbs, beatings, and sense of joy completely draws us into this altered world. Honestly, I could spend even more time with these two as they made each scene infinitely more enjoyable with their sly grins or crazy as all get out looks. Obviously Mr. Yeun is on many people’s radar thanks to “The Walking Dead”, but Ms. Weaving proves she is someone we should be keeping an eye on thanks to her stellar performance here and her solid work in “Ash vs. Evil Dead.”
All in all, this is a fast paced, entertaining way to spend ninety minutes that is sure to hold nearly anyone’s attention. The actors crackle like livewires amid the visual eye candy leading to a violent trip that is fun from start to finish. Fans of action packed movies like DREDD (2012) or gory romps like EVIL DEAD II (1987) will get a lot of bang for their buck.