Boy, who would’ve thought that workplaces could get so hostile… Directed by Joe Lynch and written by Matias Caruso, Mayhem is a film with a similar premise to The Belko Experiment, but is far more entertaining and actually, weirdly uplifting, despite having a jet-black and mean-spirited approach to its comedy and violence. One of the strengths of this film is seeing how much the characters develop under a short amount of time while being trapped inside this one office building where everyone is fighting to stay alive, and this movie holds nothing back, including the actors who all give insanely OTT performances that never become tired or annoying.
Our two main characters are very natural with one another, they both feed off each other’s craziness, and both seem genuinely badass. They held nothing back and went full-throttle with their nail guns and hammers like they had nothing left to lose. Coming fresh off The Walking Dead, Steven Yeun does a commendable job playing someone who starts out slimy and backstabbing before steadily diving into rage and insanity. It’s Samara Weaving, though, who is the real tour de force in this film. Whenever she’s on screen, you can’t take your eyes off her as she perfectly nails the intensity, the snarkiness, the physicality and the madness, plus she has real charisma that makes her performance truly electrifying. Weaving has certainly come a long way from her Home and Away roots, and maybe in another universe, she would’ve made a great Harley Quinn.
The cinematography and the camerawork, helps add to the violent atmosphere, the intensity that is steeped throughout this movie. That physical ferocity is succeeded through some great choreography and apparently were done with minimal use of stuntmen, so kudos to the actors for literally going full-throttle with the physicality. However, there some aspects that do prevent this film from becoming something special namely that the virus in this film that makes people feral is very inconsistent, as there are some that do become feral and rabid, yet there are some that are just chill in the background and some that are in control like out two main protagonists. To be honest, there really shouldn’t have been a virus included and the characters could’ve just literally gone insane and go on a murderous rampage to get to the top. Plus, the technical corporate jargon could lose some audiences, and the fact that this was released the same year as The Belko Experiment does make the timing unfortunate as that generates the risk of both movies being compared closely together.
Mayhem is a hugely enjoyable and insanely fun violent roller-coaster ride with great characters that are helped by great performances (especially from the two leads) and the way they evolve and change throughout the film, plus the cinematography and action are pretty top-notch. However, its plot devices are somewhat contrived and inconsistent, which kind of takes some of the shine away from it, but audiences will nonetheless probably get a blast out of seeing people in an office building going crazy and trying murder each other. What’s not to love about that?
Dir: Joe Lynch
Scr: Matias Caruso
Cast: Steven Yeun, Samara Weaving, Steven Brand, Caroline Chikezie, Kerry Fox, Dallas ROberts
Prd: Parisa Caviani, Mehrdad Elie, Buddy Enright, Lawrence Mattis, Matt Smith, Sean Sorensen, Andjelija Vlaisavljevic
DOP: Steve Gainer
Music: Steve Moore
Run time: 86 mins
Mayhem is released on Digital 18th June and DVD 16th July