Starring Steven Yeun, Samara Weaving, Steven Brand
Directed by Joe Lynch
Come on, admit it – we’ve all been at that point. You’re the low man on the totem pole at your job, and you’d love nothing more than to have the opportunity to LEGALLY stick a sharpened number 2 pencil into your boss’s neck, and simply claim that it was the result of a rage-infection type virus…or am I alone in my thinking? I hope you’re finished with your lunch break, and have made it back to your workstation, because we’ve got a slaughter to delve into.
Joe Lynch’s Mayhem is one of those presentations that was made for the guy who’s standing at the bottom rung of the ladder at their job, and his off-the-wall style of direction simply makes this one extremely addicting flick to eyeball. The film stars everyone’s favorite pizza-boy, Steven Yeun (“The Walking Dead”) as up-and-coming attorney Derek Cho, and it’s a safe assumption that his rise to power is well, stonewalled by a bunch of high-ranking, backstabbing douche-canoes at the prestigious Towers and Smythe consulting firm – even the name alone makes my skin crawl. Now before we get all “ohh, poor little Derek” on everyone, let me just say that the guy isn’t without his shortcomings as well – hell, the guy’s risen quite a ways since his days as an office peon, and he’s adopted the killer attitude as well, if there only was a way to make those jerkoffs in the penthouse offices see the error of their ways. Hold on kiddies, cause salvation’s coming – that saving grace to speak of comes in the form of the ID-7 virus, and it has the ability to give its victims the “red-eye,” and leads to an ultimate breakdown of the afflicted’s inhibitions and impulses – want to score with that cute secretary that’s been giving you looks from across the room? It WILL happen for sure. Been yearning to drop kick your supervisor directly in the chest when he peers over your cubicle? Oh, it’s going to happen – only problem is that this virus spreads quickly and runs like wildfire, so you might be the one getting the boot, or the stapler, or the entire desk slammed over your coconut. Derek’s problem here is that a seriously unscrupulous boss (Brand) has an ear that is chewed frequently by an absolute ball-breaker of an eminent personality at the firm, known as “The Siren” (Caroline Chikezie in an amazingly solid performance).
Derek’s part in a previous lawsuit related to this virus has put him on the outs with his new employers, and when the final button is pushed (thanks to a setup from The Siren herself), he finds himself getting that dreaded pink slip and trying his damnedest to plead his case. Well, the CDC has now quarantined the building and given the employees a wait-and-see timeline of 8 hours for the symptoms to pass – talk about the workday from hell! Derek’s only aid in this game of office cat and mouse is the beautiful Melanie (Weaving), a woman who came to him earlier to assist her with a personal matter, only to have him turn a cold corporate shoulder her way. The chemistry between these two sparks like a live wire, and their scenes together act as an accelerator in a film that clearly has it’s foot already on the gas. The movie moves from expressway-like speed to an insanely hyper-driven pace, and fans of frenzied violent showcases, mixed with generous doses of humor (and not overdone, either) will absolutely feast on this movie. I’ve always admired Lynch’s style of direction, and combined with a breakout performance from Yeun, Mayhem is one of those films that will have assembly-line worker ants standing up and cheering, all the while wiping the blood from their freshly pressed dress shirts – do yourself a solid and check this one out when it comes crashing through your breakroom door.