One of my favorite festival finds of 2017 hit home video last week. After RLJ Entertainment picked up the blood soaked satirical horror-comedy, they released the film on VOD in November to generally positive reviews. Often getting favorable comparisons to another such themed 2017 horror film, The Belko Experiment, the film lampoons the high powered business world to the tune of exploring what would happen in a locked down office building infected by a rage virus. On December 26th, RLJ followed the VOD release of the film with home video releases on 4K UHD, Blu-ray, and DVD.
Mayhem‘s director, Joe Lynch, is probably known best for directing the second installment to the Wrong Turn horror franchise and his Salma Hayek actioner Everly. He also directed the extremely fun fantasy flavored Knights of Badassdom and a zombie themed segment in 2011’s horror anthology spoof Chillerama. Here he shows both his sense of humor and his love of horror films in the creation of this well crafted, gore filled, action packed satire.
The film stars Steven Yeun, aka Glen from The Walking Dead, and up-and-comer Samara Weaving, who this year also starred in Netflix’s The Babysitter and played a strong supporting role in Oscar hopeful Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Yeun’s Derek Cho is a young professional who has done everything the right way, but early in the film is being scapegoated for a big blunder made by a higher up. Weaver’s Melanie Cross is a down on her luck young lady who comes to the firm looking for some help or lenience on a mortgage she can’t afford. While their relationship starts off rocky, the two put differences aside for common goals. This means, they decide to work together to literally kill their way up to the top floor to solve the problems they are faced with.
Both Yeun and Weaving are great in their roles. When they need to show depth and nuance to their characters, it’s always there. However, that depth and nuance is often asked to take a backseat to unbridled psychopathy. Both exhibit that ability to go back and forth between calm and completely insane from one moment to the next. Their on-screen chemistry is undeniable, with snarky back and forth that is extremely enjoyable.
The boss and the ultimate villain in their quest is John Towers, played by Steven Brand. Brand’s performance of this role is reminiscent of a coked out Ray Liotta on tilt. As the big bad, he is very effective. Along with the other higher ups, Towers gradually becomes more and more unraveled. He and the other sadistic corporate swills play a waiting game, knowing Cho is on his way to get his job back… or more accurately, to exact certain revenge for being fired.
The long and the short of this film is that the action is slick and stylish, the blood is bright and abundant, the acting is always on point, and the overall product is highly enjoyable. This film is tailor made for horror fans who like to laugh and comedy fans who like to see some gore. By now, it should be apparent that Lynch has an innate ability to weave in a heart with his films, which Mayhem certainly has, as well. Couple this with his ability to make action scenes really pop and it’s not surprising to see that Mayhem is a solid entry into any collection.
The 4K and Blu-ray combo pack comes with a commentary track featuring Lynch, his Director of Photography Steve Gainer, and his Editor Josh Ethier. It additionally features a making of featurette and a few other goodies. These features are also included on the DVD edition of the film. Both are available at all major retailers.