Plenty of us know that a 9 to 5 corporate job can be a soul-sucking grind that fantasizing about hitting your boss in the face with a keyboard is something that anyone can relate to. Well, now you have a movie about it.
Mayhem is a mash-up of corporate satire and zombiepoclypse with a twist. The opening act promises a bloody action-comedy where you can finally see a violent workplace fantasy come true – an employee settling the score with the top brass.
There’s nothing much to say about the characters, but the movie’s diverse casting at least doesn’t pander to the audience. So you have a lead that just happens to be Asian-American and a villain that just happens to be a black woman.
They’re pitted against each other in a polished B-movie thanks to cinematography and production design. The office space provides a claustrophobic setting, where people who have to put up with each other can finally act out their pent up anger and frustration.
Unfortunately, as the movie progresses, this supposedly balls-to-the-wall cinematic anarchy is tedious and juvenile. This is a movie that thinks it’s subversive just because the females get to say lines like, incompetent cunt and fucking bitch.
The movie’s videogame set-up is setback by tedious exposition, then unnecessary context. This tell instead of just goddamn show dampens the energetic pace of the plot. So instead of navigating an office floor filled with maniacs, Derek sends a video to intimidate the CEO with a legal loophole, which viewers could already figure out based on the narration.
Mayhem quickly violates its own rules, as the infected Derek and Melanie act rational and even make long-term plans. Steven Yeun does his best here, but no amount of blood can make him intimidating. Samara Weaving serves as no more than a pin-up sidekick. Their half-assed romantic subplot is crammed in to justify her existence.
The rest of the characters are over-the-top caricatures who are ready to murder. So whatever plot twist that Derek faces as he tries to clear the lower level bosses to get to the big ones is pre-ordained.
They get down and dirty, but there’s really nothing much to see here. The action scenes are clumsily-staged and unconvincing. The background fights are mostly people trashing the place. You’d think that a movie filled with rage-induced killing machines will provide pulpy action but Mayhem doesn’t commit to its own title.
In the end, there’s really no one to root for as the final boss battle pits two selfish assholes against each other. The Bull wields a golf club while Derek is armed with a wrench. In case you didn’t get the dick joke, his boss yells “Mine is bigger, mine is always bigger!” The movie tries to redeem its anti-hero and Derek does one good deed. Yup, for the one woman that he fucked.
Mayhem doesn’t really amount to much except for generic showdowns. It’s a good effort and you can tell that the cast is committed. However, the script doesn’t let the movie go off the rails. If you need The- Office-meets-slasher-movie flick that actually commits to its premise, you’re better off watching Severance.
Mayhem is clumsily executed and tedious juvenile action-comedy that doesn't live up to its title.