I’m not gonna lie. There were three things that got me interested to see Mayhem. First Steven Yeun (I missed seeing Glenn covered in blood and kicking ass on The Walking Dead). Second, it started off with a 100 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and thirdly, I thought Aussie star Samara Weaving was awesome in Netflix’s The Babysitter. However, even without the aforementioned reasons, I would have loved Mayhem for the simple reason that it rocked — everything. I am still hopped up even five hours after seeing the movie. And that’s a testament to how cool the entire thing was.
Synopsis: Derek Cho (Steven Yeun) rose from the ranks at a cutthroat consulting firm but gets set up by a snake of a superior, costing him his job and his corner office. On the day that he gets fired, the entire building is quarantined after the CDA detects traces of a virus that compels people to act out of character, become violent and basically lose their minds while under the influence. Luckily for Derek, he finds an excuse in the virus and an ally in another lawyer (Samara Weaving) who also has a beef with upper management. They use the virus to their advantage to seek retribution from their oppressors sitting safely at the top floor.
How did I feel about watching Mayhem? Well, the major challenge for me is actually to write this review without using the F word, like, twenty million times. There was a line in the film that said that the virus makes a coke addict look like a schoolboy (or something to that effect) and this movie had the very same impact on my adrenaline. It was fast paced and, like the title suggested, complete mayhem and everybody was just hitting everybody else for 80 percent of the movie. Think The Purge Anarchy/ the Church scene in the first Kingsman movie and you get an idea of what the backdrop of Mayhem was like. It was glorious.
Despite the utter chaos, there was a certain coolness with Yeun and Weaving and this may be because they’re used to playing badasses who take mayhem in stride. For seven seasons, Yeun fought Walkers and stayed alive in a post apocalyptic America and Weaving played the leader of a satanic cult in The Babysitter. Of course, they would be methodical in scraping up the most dangerous home improvement tools from the stockroom they were detained in. Of course they would wield these weapons capably like they were streetfighters instead of lawyers. Its that simple. No other explanations needed. These are facts.
I loved that the characters got as much gore as they dished out. By the end of the movie, these two were bloodied to a pulp and not just because they took a shower with everyone’s blood.
Despite the general chaos that surrounded these two for the entire movie, I liked how structured director Joe Lynch’s movie was. The floor levels played like boss fights for Derek and Melanie as it got more difficult to eliminate the more top level executives of the company. However, despite falling under the influence of the virus, I liked how Derek mainly stuck to the goal and held on his humanity, having a moment of epiphany with his mug right before the final showdown, so to speak.
All in all, Mayhem was literally all over the place, and rightly so. It was an action thriller /horror comedy that used all the elements of the genre to perfection (loved the scoring as well) — an entertaining script by Matias Caruso, rootable characters, great cinematography (the framing for the shots was always on point) and everything worked perfectly well together to deliver a gore filled bloodfest that made no apologies for its campiness or its brutality. Which is just perfect in my book.