21st Jun2018

‘Mayhem’ VOD Review

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Steven Yeun, Samara Weaving, Steven Brand, Caroline Chikezie, Kerry Fox, Dallas Roberts, Mark Frost, Claire Dellamar, André Eriksen, Nick Kent, Lucy Chappell, Bojan Peric, Annamaria Serda | Written by Matias Caruso | Directed by Joe Lynch

mayhem-poster

The world of business is a cutthroat winner takes all monster that takes no prisoners. What you usually don’t see though is this turn into an orgy of violence that matches the heartlessness of greed. This is why Mayhem is somewhat of a breath of fresh air for what it gets away with.

Attorney Derek Cho (Steven Yeun) is having a bad day. Screwed over by a co-worker, the only way he can save his job is to talk to the partners of the law office he works for. When a virus shuts down the building though and everybody starts losing his mind, he and new ally Melanie Cross (Samara Weaving) must battle to the top of the building to take on the bosses.

At the start of the film Cho is on the path he wants, even if it is against his own character. Being an asshole, he even makes it clear to Melanie Cross that she is going to lose her home and there is nothing she can do about it. The key is though that he can’t hide that he is a nice guy.

What changes things for both characters is a virus that infects the building. Taking away the victim’s inhibitions, the twist for the story is that the violence they inflict is not a crime. We are told this because a past victim won a case in court to make sure this is the case. So, anything that happens in the locked down building is legal. Most importantly it gives two characters that have been trodden on by big business the chance to fight back without any repercussions.

The office building is the setting an orgy of violence (among other things) that Cho and Cross must survive, and take part in. This includes a number of key characters that they must defeat in a style that feels almost like end of level bosses in a game. In a nice stylish move, we are introduced to these through Cho composing paintings of them which convey his feelings. This works well to quickly set up their opposition to him and the fact he must defeat them.

What I like about Mayhem is that director Joe Lynch makes the film’s impact feel like the violence we see on the screen, it is a punch to the senses that is blunt and unforgiving. This is a style that may not work with some audiences, but if you get it and it is to your tastes, then you understand what the film is portraying and you love it for its hardcore attitude. Cho and Cross may be the heroes, but they are assholes and do bad things that should be unforgivable. Why do we accept it? Because of the virus that has infected them and it is the perfect get out of jail free card emotionally and legally for the characters.

There is a fine balance here where even if the virus is making them act this way, the characters could still be unlikable as a character. This is where the performances of Steven Yeun and Samara Weaving shine through. These characters are complicated, they manage to show heart and most importantly they are likeable for the audience, we want them to win, no matter how cold-hearted the violence is that we see them do.

What Mayhem does well is that it creates the typical small guy vs. the big bosses in a corporation and throws a grenade of anarchy into the mix. All chaos is going on around the characters and it is very easy to just love the level of batshit crazy is on the screen. The most important thing is Joe Lynch makes it work, and it works gloriously.

Mayhem is a film that must be experienced, because we need more films like it. Movies are an escape from reality where anarchy can reign and there can be a believable reason for it, and that is exactly what Mayhem manages to do. An orgy of extreme violence with a lot of heart behind it, this is a film well worth watching.

***** 5/5

Mayhem is available to download now and will be available on DVD from 16th July.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek
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