On Tuesday, Toronto After Dark screened Joe Lynch’s Mayhem, a title to which I had been looking forward for quite some time.
When a virus that causes people's inhibitions to recede infects an office building, the white collar workers inside must wait out the quarantine while the effects subside.
Mayhem was crazy amounts of fun and Joe Lynch through and through. This was a perfect example of the solid genre content that him and his unofficial collective (including the likes of Adam Green & Paul Solet) have been making for over a decade now. Lynch has an energetic quality that permeates his work, but he also doesn't take himself too seriously. This film in particular was very polished and with having been shot in Serbia using pretty much one location, I'd wager that it cost much less than it looked like it did.
I should address the inevitable comparison to Greg McLean’s The Belko Experiment. The setup of both movies was similar, but the driving force behind both efforts was not. In Belko, the characters actions are based on survival, whereas Mayhem it was revenge, or depending on how you look at it perhaps even justice. Lynch's movie was definitely the more fun of the two, as clearly his main goal was to entertain by playing on the hot button issue of the downtrodden rising up against corporate oppressors.
|Samara Weaving & Steven Yuen in Mayhem.|
I do maintain that Belko was a much more edgy and mean spirited effort, but also not without humour. However, anyone who has seen James Gunn's previous indie work (namely Super) knows that his comedy is of a jet black nature.
Mayhem's construct allowed for more camaraderie between the two leads Steven Yuen and Samara Weaving and they made a fantastic pair. Her career is exploding and Yuen is doing very well after his exit from The Walking Dead. The movie's plot device was a little hard to nail down at times, as it appeared to be a rage virus like the one in 28 Days Later, but nowhere near as powerful or consistent. It was almost as if the actual violence perpetrated by the infected was a choice rather than a condition. It's a delicious concept, but never fully explored in my opinion. No matter, it didn't take anything away from the movie for me.
Mayhem was a super entertaining and slick horror comedy featuring a lot of great actors letting loose and having fun with the material.