Everyone can lose their temper in the workplace, but only a few go to the extremes we witness in this spectacular 2017 movie, Mayhem.
For our protagonist, attorney Derek Cho, it’s just another day at the large law firm where he has built a career out of years of practicing and bullying by his superiors.
After throwing the beautiful and passionate rival lawyer Melanie Cross out of the building, committed to defending a hopeless lawsuit, this cynical and ruthless guy goes for coffee as usual.
A surprise awaits him, however, since the end has come for him as well, quick and unexpected because a colleague has framed him with some documents charging him for losing a million-dollar trial.
The former lawyer is almost at the door to leave when just then begins a building-wide health lockdown.
Indeed, in the law office, many people have symptoms of the ID-7 virus, also called Red Eye, because it colors the infected pupils with blood.
This disease leads to total loss of inhibitions and uncontrollable rage, yet, fortunately, there is a cure.
Doctors have been working assiduously after a terrible massacre several years earlier, whose murderers were defended in court by this exact law firm.
So the authorities release a neutralizing gas through the ventilation system, but it will take several hours before it eradicates ID-7.
So Derek Cho and the beautiful Melanie Cross decide to join forces and kill those responsible for their misfortunes because, thanks to legal precedent, no one infected with this virus can be held accountable for their actions.
However, getting to the top of the building will be more complex than they imagine because now bloody madness is rampant among their work colleagues who kill each other mercilessly.
The deadly career obsession
The 2017 movie Mayhem is one of the rare instances where horror and action blend perfectly, skillfully mixing typical elements of both genres.
Joe Lynch paints an extraordinarily fast-paced and adrenaline-fueled modern fable, fresh from the experience of the equally entertaining Everly, where the gorgeous Salma Hayek was once again stuck in a building for the entire movie.
Taking Matias Caruso‘s excellent screenplay forward, the director stages an absurd satire that ironically depicts the metaphor of an all-costs career, boundless ambition, and fierce competition among co-workers.
In this context, however, for once, the upward climb of the two protagonists represents justice instead of the pursuit of personal success.
Even better, Mayhem has wonderful grotesque humor that permeates the entire story, making it highly entertaining and enjoyable to watch even in its grittier moments.
Fortunately, this kind of irony never feels forced or contrived; instead is perfectly integrated into the plot, achieving a catharsis effect with the madness unleashed by the ID-7 virus.
This context is even more relevant after the tremendous global lockdown of 2020, during which many people felt trapped in an out-of-control world.
In this sense, Mayhem has been almost prophetic of the health misfortunes of recent years, where we have all struggled to survive and regain control of our lives.
The fight scenes are bloody and exaggerated, underscored by some excellent songs such as the wonderful Motherfucker by Faith No More we hear in the background of the massacre between the lawyer and the colleague who ruined his career.
For anyone who has had at least one bad day at the office in their life, this is absolutely a must-see, as well as a severe recommendation never to lose your temper because you may not ever come back.
The Walking Dead-end job
Speaking of the main characters in this movie, we have the young Steven Yeun leaving an apocalypse to start another, coming from his last episode in The Walking Dead straight into the big mess of Mayhem in 2017.
However, his young age does not prevent him from delivering convincing and mature acting, proving to be equally adept in funny, dramatic, and physical action scenes.
His character is at first selfish and uncaring, yet later redeems even if he does so through violence, an unconventional and unethical but definitely effective way to regain what he has lost.
Equally good is the beautiful Samara Weaving as his battle buddy, initially hating each other for work reasons but ending up on the same front as soldiers and lovers on this absurd day of office warfare.
I have already written repeatedly about how much I admire this young actress, who in recent years managed to pick out stupendous action-comedy roles such as, for example, the hilarious Guns Akimbo where she is still fighting along with what was once Harry Potter, Daniel Radcliffe.
Equally spectacular are the two major villains in the story, beginning with the ruthless lawyer Caroline Chikezie, who is practically what Steven Yeun would have become without awakening his consciousness.
Still, even she must submit to a perpetually cocaine-addled and megalomaniacal boss like Steven Brand, as insane as he is elegant and funny in his omnipotence delusion boosted to the extreme by the ID-7 virus.
I mean, he is the perfect boss we would all pay gold to punch in the face to bring him down to the miserable level of all human beings he thinks to be above.
In summary, Mayhem is a brilliant horror/action blend into spectacular chaos, delivering a simple entertaining cinematic experience of blood and laughter.