Steven Yeun shines in “Mayhem”, a hysterical satire of Corporate America gone wrong — one that takes the idea of a hostile work environment to a new level.
So, picture this: You get up, brush your teeth and are off to work. On the way, you pick up a cup of coffee and a little ID-7 virus dubbed “Red Eye.” Once the infection sets in, you staple your least favorite co-worker’s tongue to his desk and tell your boss to f**off. Then you slaughter the owner of the company with his golf trophy and have sex with the janitor. Eight hours later it’s all over, and you can’t be prosecuted because you were sick. All in a day’s work, right?
Well that’s Mayhem in a nutshell! We all have those fantasies about what we would say or do if there were no consequences. Mayhem brings that and so much more, in one of the funniest gore fests I’ve ever seen.
As explained by a newscaster, “Basically, human dignity takes a sick leave.” Compared to, but very unlike The Belko Experiment, what I saw was more The Office meets The Purge. The madly funny film is directed by Joe Lynch (Everly, Wrong Turn 2) and is the feature film debut from writer Matias Caruso. What a great first screenplay! I must admit, I am seriously in love with this film.
SYNOPSIS: A virus infects a corporate law office on the day attorney Derek Cho is framed by a co-worker and wrongfully fired. The infection raises stress hormones and is capable of making people act out their wildest impulses. Trapped in the quarantined building, Derek is forced to fight for his job, and his life.
Without giving away too much of the story, we meet Derek Cho (Steven Yeun), and he is having a really bad day. Derek went into the corporate world believing he could change the world, but he ends up hating the toxic environment he works in. After being unjustly fired from his job, he discovers that the law firm’s building is under quarantine for the mysterious and dangerous ID-7 virus.
Chaos erupts throughout the office as the victims of the disease begin doing whatever the deepest darkest recess of their brain tells them to do. Joining forces with former client Melanie Cross (Samara Weaving), who has a grudge of her own, Derek savagely fights tooth and nail (and nail gun) to get to the executives on the top floor and settle the score once and for all.
What I love so much about this movie is that it never lets up.
It is relentless, dark and amazingly funny. I almost felt guilty that I enjoyed the violence so much (but not that guilty). There is something going on every second, and I had to watch it a second time just to catch some of the amazing vignettes of the background characters. So much down and dirty fun!
When we peel away the thin veneer of civilization that covers us all, there is some really crazy stuff underneath. Not to say there were a lot of characters in a law office that were sympathetic in any way, but it is interesting to see all the different ways they get taken out. (It reminds me of the old joke: “What do you call a building full of dead lawyers? A good start!”)
The film has a very personal feel to it, and there is no doubt that director Joe Lynch has been in that world and hated it just as much as Derek does.
Steven Yeun is likable, and this is a great film to get him out of The Walking Dead typecast that he may have fallen into. He has a double duty: he is the narrator and the protagonist. It’s a perfect bravery-under-fire role. And even though I miss Glen on TWD, I really enjoyed this attorney turned unlikely action hero. The poor guy is just at the wrong place at the wrong time, and yet he still manages to kick some serious ass.
Yeun and his co-star Samara Weaving have great chemistry too (and enough sexual tension to keep most viewers wondering “when are they gonna do it?”) and she is part of the reason the pace is so frenetic. Her quick wit and pacing are terrific, and she is a very convincing heroine!
The film that has been loved by critics and audiences in film festivals all across the U.S. is finally coming to the public on November 10th. Mayhem will be released in theaters, on VOD and Digital HD by RLJE Films.
Look for it, watch it and enjoy. This is not your mother’s zombie movie!