Mayhem CPE
Mayhem – 2017

Director Joe Lynch
Screenplay Matias Caruso
Starring Steven Yeun, Samara Weaving, Steven Brand, Caroline Chikezie, Kerry Fox, Dallas Roberts

Apparently Steven Yeun thought his first major post Walking Dead work should be something having to do with a virus that turns people into crazed killing machines. This would be okay if the work had some sort of wisdom behind the work. As it stands, this film makes its fellow office massacre film The Belko Experiment look like Shakespeare.

The story works really hard to achieve some sort of logic behind its conceit. The premise revolves around a lawyer (Yeun) who works for a firm that got a person out of committing murder. Logic would dictate that this would be obvious, but the filmmakers decide to make it look like something nefarious. If that weren’t enough, Weaving is Melanie Cross, a girl who is about to lose her home due to other hijinks by the firm, specifically tied to one of the suits. Why? So they can fight later, that is why.

The bulk of the film bounces back and forth between convoluted explanations of corporate misdeeds and open acts of violence. No one seems to mind the latter and intricate plans are being employed against the former. Mix in the occasional flashing images of of fantasy which is tough to distinguish from the reality and you have Mayhem.

Yeun is wasting his talent here. It’s easy to understand why a role like this would be desirable, but the awkward storytelling makes this a mess to wade through. Weaving is a force of nature who is almost too comfortable wreaking havoc on screen. She looks good and comfortable here, but it doesn’t save the story.

Lynch and Caruso don’t demonstrate much in the way of competence in storytelling. There is a difference between and Tarantinoesque non-linear approach and just throwing random plot points attempting to connect set pieces and scenes. It helps to have a goal beyond framing the shots in advance versus trying to justify what you are shooting in retrospect.

See this film if you want to see someone carry around an extremely powerful nail gun to no real effect.

(*1/2 out of *****)

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