FRIGHTFEST EUROPEAN PREMIERE
Office jobs can be tough – not the work itself, but the culture. Hands up who has worked in an office job where micro-management, backstabbing and general nastiness were part of the normal working day. Well it turns out director Joe Lynch has too and feels our pain, and Mayhem is an intensely violent and darkly funny look at those companies that destroy your very soul the moment you enter the cubicle and all those daydreams you’ve locked away in the back of your head about what you’d love to do to get revenge.
Set in a corporate law office, Mayhem follows the journey of Derek Saunders (Steven Yeun) as he tries to seek revenge on his bosses whilst the building is quarantined due to an outbreak of a virus that lowers people’s inhibitions. The film’s title is the perfect description of what follows, as the staff become violent, hypersexual and completely insane for 8 hours as they wait for the antidote to take effect. Derek teams up with a disgruntled client and work together to survive the madness around them in one piece as they plan what to do with those that have wronged them.
The casting of Steven Yeun as the kind and put upon Derek is perfect, he’s great at embodying that nice guy image and it’s totally believable that others would screw him over because you don’t expect him to be the type that would do anything about it. His chemistry with co-star Samara Weaving who plays angered client Melanie Cross is shocking natural, it comes together with such ease you’d presume they’d known each other for years, making it easy to root for the pair to succeed in their mission and more. They’re nice people who’ve had so much done wrong to them by money-grabbing heartless bosses. Who hasn’t felt this way?
The bosses are wonderfully awful characters, exemplifying everything a bad boss is – cruel, conniving and only thinking of themselves, there’s not a moment you don’t think they aren’t about to get what they deserve. And so you root for the underdogs Derek and Melanie every step of the way, and laughing at everyone who gets in their way.
Watching the entire building go batshit insane – fighting, fucking and flipping out, is weirdly cathartic for anyone who has ever had a bad office job. The mayhem in every scene is manic to say the least, and it’s going to take several viewings to catch every weird thing going on in the background of the scenes with the extras who were clearly having the time of their lives on this set.
Joe Lynch, himself a former disgruntled office worker, clearly put a lot of his own hatred of the job into this film, and as such it feels like a labour of hate towards those soul-sucking jobs we have all had at least once in our lives but suffered in silence with. With a heavy touch of Office Space mixed with The Belko Experiment and Battle Royale for good measure, this is a revenge horror to watch after a bad day in the office. Live vicariously through Derek and Melanie, and laugh your head off at the silliness and fun as everyone goes nuts. Mayhem is one of the most fun horror films I’ve seen in a long time, and I’m so glad I bought a single ticket for this after having a day pass for Saturday – this was one of my favourite Frightfest films of 2017, once more Joe Lynch hasn’t disappointed and just keeps raising the bar.
Overall Rating: 5/5 A film where everyone has far more than a “case of the Mondays”, the non-stop violence and joking makes this a horror that will put a massive smile on your face.