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"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.


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