Director – Joe Lynch (Knights of Badassdom, Wrong Turn 2)
Starring – Steven Yeun (The Walking Dead, Trollhunters), Samara Weaving (The Babysitter, Ash vs Evil Dead), and Steven Brand (Teen Wolf, Hellsing)
Release Date – 2017
Rating – 4/5
Joe Lynch is a director that I greatly admire. I’ve been a fan of his since Wrong Turn 2 hit DVD. I was a fan of the first film and tend to view anything set in my home state. When 2 was released I grabbed it and instantly became a fan. Over the years I’ve seen all his work but one thing really pisses me off when I discuss Lynch with other horror fans. The second you mention Joe Lynch horror fans feel the need to bring up Adam Green. I understand the need to compare the two but to me there is no comparison. Adam Green is a great filmmaker in his own right but Lynch has turned out better films in my opinion.
When he announced Mayhem I was excited. He kept teasing fans on social media about the film to the point I almost blocked him until release date. With the film having an official release this week I was lucky enough to secure a review copy. How crazy is this film going to be?
**Spoiler Alert**The film follows corporate lawyer Derek Cho (Yeun) who was set up by a co-worker who lost a huge court case. The board of directors chose to let him go but as they escort him from the building they find themselves under quarantine. A virus that has been plaguing the country turns the eyes of those infected red and their lose control. Their emotions get the best of them and they react without thinking. In some cases it can drive up sexual relations and in others it can cause violence. Now Derek is infected, among many others in the building, and wants to speak with the 9 board of directors to clear his name and get his job back.**Spoiler Alert**
When people ask me why I like Lynch more than Green I immediately mention the characters. Green is notorious for creating bloody fodder with his characters. They rarely have back stories and the viewer doesn’t grow attached to them. They don’t care if they die or not. Lynch doesn’t do that. His characters have personalities and backstories that the viewer can enjoy. Mayhem gave me more of that. I really enjoyed the characters and where they went within the story.
The acting in this is fantastic. Steven Yeun is an amazing actor which is why I’m glad he is not longer apart of the sinking Walking Dead. He needs to spread his wings and step into bigger roles like this one. His co-star, Samara Weaving, is just as talented in front of the camera. She’s a beautiful actress that brings a chaotic character to life like no other. The rest of the cast is great as well and we even have a short scene with director Joe Lynch that I was not expecting but should have.
The story for this one is what I could easily describe as Quarantine meets The Belko Experiment. It does have a bit of a slow start but once the story starts moving it kicks like a fucking mule and doesn’t let up. There is several nods to other great films from cinema’s history and even one scene that reminded me a lot of the post-apocalyptic sci-fi horror films from the 80s where everyone is a member or a gang. I really enjoyed the story and would love to see a follow up film.
Finally, the film has several on screen kills and some great gags but did lack the gore I was expecting from someone that has spent his whole career mentioning how much he loves practical effects and gore. With that being said, the effects we do get are great and really sell the scene. Overall, Mayhem is an action packed horror film with great characters and a story that could be told in several installments. Check it out