Greetings! Have you ever wondered if a movie's worth blowing the money on to see at the theater or what to add next to your NetFlix queue? Then you've come to the right place! Enjoy!

"Mayhem" Review

I must've ignored the 2017 comedic horror flick Mayhem when it came out because it looked like a cheapie movie starring Steven Yeun, who'd recently been killed off on The Walking Dead. It popped back on my radar recently because it also starred Margot Robbie lookalike Samara Weaving of Ready or Not and Guns Akimbo. That it also had a rage-inducing virus a la 28 Days Later made it timely for the current Wuhan virus pandemic which has shut down the world at this time, so it was time to cherkitert.

During the exposition dump intro we're introduced to Yuen's world: A virus called ID-7 causes victims to get one massively bloodshot eye and causes their ids to take over, resulting in a breakdown of inhibitions leading to effects ranging from emotional outbursts to having sex in public to murder. Yuen, a rookie employee at a consulting firm discovered a loophole in the law which exempted people from responsibility for crimes they committed, getting the first ID-7 killer off on the technicality. This earned him a corner office, but he's become jaded and cynical. 

One day he has a meeting with a young woman (Weaving) who's begging for a couple months extension on her mortgage, which has been foreclosed. He brushes her off and calls security to have her bounced from the building.Shortly thereafter, he himself finds himself made the fall guy for a superior's screw-up and is fired. However, as he's being walked out through the lobby, SWAT team and CDC trucks are outside, sealing the building and threatening to shoot anyone who leaves. The ID-7 virus has been detected and an antidote has been released into the air vents, but it will be eight hours before everyone is cured.

What to do when you've lost your job and are trapped in a building with a horde of equally-infected office workers? The answer's in the title: Commit Mayhem! Yuen quickly discovers Weaving is still in the building and they team up to battle their way up the tower to get to the corporate board, to save her house, and get plenty of payback along the way.

The trailer's description of it being "a cross between Office Space and The Purge" is apt. While there are the obligatory cursory nods toward the evils of corporations and how one should avoid selling out to the system, but for the most part it packs what's advertised on the tin, plenty of over-the-top Grand Guignol ultraviolence with a comic edge. (Think The Evil Dead 2.) It's not a nature documentary; it's Mayhem.

Score: 7/10. Catch it on cable.

"Tell Me Who I Am" Review

The setup for the documentary Tell Me Who I Am is summarized in the trailer below: At age 18, English teen Alex Lewis was in a motorcycle accident where his helmet came off, allowing his head to impact the pavement, putting him into a coma. When he awoke, he had total amnesia other than recognizing his identical twin brother Marcus. He didn't remember his mother, father, their home, nothing.Over ensuing months, Marcus rebuilt Alex's memories, showing him photos which allowed him to weave together a new history of the life he lived.

But there are oddities gnawing at the edges. Why is so much of the house off-limits? Why did they sleep in a "garden shed" instead of the main house, a dark, sprawling hulk of a mansion? Why wouldn't Marcus forgive their father when he asked for it as he was about to die of cancer when the twins were in their mid-20s?

When their mother died five years after their father, they were finally able to go through the house and discover its secrets and what they found raised ever more questions about their childhood. A wardrobe in a bathroom was packed with sex toys. In the attic they discovered an entire childhood of wrapped birthday and Christmas presents given by godparents and family which never made it to them. And in the back of a closet was a locked chest which contained a photo of the brothers at about age 10, nude, with their heads cut off. This last item prompts Alex to ask Marcus if their mother ever sexually molested them, to which Marcus silently nodded and refused to discuss further.

(This isn't really a spoiler because no one make a documentary about a happy, well-balanced family where everything was fine. You know going in something happened; the only question is the specifics.)

Director Ed Perkins tells this twisted tale in three acts with the first two consisting of the brothers speaking directly into the camera from their perspectives - Alex about trying to reclaim his life and Marcus explaining why he tried to shield his tabula rasa brother from the horrors they'd endured. The third act is their facing off in person with Alex demanding to know what happened to them, no matter how horrible the facts. And they're pretty horrible, even more so than implied.

Without spoiling the final details, it's some pretty grueling stuff, but after the big revelation, I couldn't help wonder why they didn't name names and act to take down this circle of upper crust monsters? Their education isn't mentioned; did they not go to school where teaches could notice problems? The filmmakers also omits a couple of huge details, namely that the twins' father wasn't their biological father (who'd died shortly after their birth) and that their mother had another boy and girl with her second husband, the man they called father. There is not a hint of their existence in the film.

While I understand director Perkins desire to focus on the twins, he gives a false sense of isolation to their lives. If the brothers had no one around to intervene, that would be one thing, but with half-siblings and a man who raised them, but allowed his wife to do what she did to her sons, is much more troubling.

While it's interesting to be a voyeur to the damage sexual abuse can wreak upon people into middle age - the brothers were 54 when this was filmed - a far more useful and cathartic resolution would've been them joining forces to expose and destroy those who abused them and clearly many, many more children. In taking too close a look, they miss the bigger troubling picture.

Score: 7/10. Watch it on Netflix.

DirkFlix. Copyright 2010-2015 Dirk Omnimedia Inc. All rights reserved.
Free WordPress Themes Presented by EZwpthemes.
Bloggerized by Miss Dothy