Monday, November 6, 2017

Joe Lynch's very violent MAYHEM goes gleefully and crazily over the top

Ah, the workplace. Isn't it fun? We've just seen the French version, Corporate, via Nicolas Silhol, which gets a one-time run today in NYC at FIAF (until some smart distributor picks it up for further attention). Best of all, maybe, would be Joe Johnston's little gem from 2014, Not Safe for Work, a B-movie workplace thriller that gets everything right. Add now to your list of workplace goodies, MAYHEM, from Long Island filmmaker Joe Lynch, who a few years back gave us the the very tasty and so politically incorrect vengeance thriller, Everly, in which Salma Hayek strutted her very impressive stuff.

Now Mr. Lynch (shown at left) turns his attention to the corporate world and all (or much) of its malfeasance with his usual grin and copious squirts of the red stuff. Mayhem arrives at its titular state rather quickly, but prior to that it provides a bit of exposition regarding a new virus that has arrived to give humanity ever more problems. Thankfully (and a good deal more creatively) this virus does not turn folk into zombies.

Rather, once infected, the host's eyes turn red and he (or she) loses all inhibitions, becoming ultra-violent, ultra-horny and ultra-, well, just about any naughty thing you might be able to imagine. (One of the film's funnier moments has to do with emptying wastebaskets.)

So when our hero, Derek (played by a fine and feisty Steven Yeun, shown above and below, pre- and post-mayhem), who has risen to a higher rank in the corporate world by becoming an ever-better shit-heel, even if (as we note in an early scene) he has not yet lost quite all of his humanity, is suddenly made the fall guy for the mistakes of others, he plots revenge on his "horrible bosses."

Along for the ride is a pretty young woman named Melanie (Samantha Weaving, above, right, and below), who has come to the corporation to plead with it not to evict her from her family home -- the mortgage of which the corporation now owns. When the virus infects the building, including our sort-of good guy and gal, and the corporation headquarters is quarantined, the opportunity arises to redress certain grievances.

Among the numerous villains are some very fine actors playing people who've been given just enough specific and nasty qualities that each is enable to endow his/her character with some lip-smacking fun via a clever, on-target performance.

These would include the estimable Kerry Fox (at extreme left, above) as the corporate dragon lady, and Stephen Brand (above, front and center) as the would-be fellow in charge. Ms Fox is always a treat to see, and she nails it once again in this juicy supporting role.

Also on tap is the very hot actress, Caroline Chikezie (center left), as the firm's lower-level dragon lady known as The Siren, who provides a lot of nasty, sexy fun. As the violence escalates (it's all pretty cartoonish, from which the recipients keep rising up again and again) and our heroes make their way to the "top," things get dicier, funnier and ever more actionful.

It may seem odd to describe a movie this bloody and violent as an enjoyable romp, but given what keeps unfurling in the real world about our corporate culture and its negative impact upon us all, I suppose we can be forgiven for indulging in a little fantasy payback now and again, especially when it is this inventively staged. So thank you, Mr. Lynch. And keep up the good work.

From RLJE Films and running a swift 86 minutes, Mayhem opens this Friday, November 10, in theaters, via VOD and digital high def. In Los Angeles you can view it at Laemmle's Monica Film Center, in New York City at the Cinema Village, and at the other eight cities/theaters listed below: Atlanta/AMC Conyers Crossing 16, Dallas/AMC Hickory Creek, Houston/AMC Yorktown, San Francisco/AMC Deer Valley, Phoenix/AMC Arizona Center, Chicago/AMC Woodridge, Detroit/ AMC Gratiot and Tampa/AMC Sundial. 

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