Rating (1 out of 5)
Rotten Tomatoes scores mean nothing and should not be used without significant caution. Viewing Mayhem sealed my final judgement of Rotten Tomatoes. From this point forward, I will use Metacritic, which I find to be more accurate.
Here is what led Scott and I to watch Mayhem last night. Hey! Mayhem has an 84% RT score and it’s only 99 cents to rent, it should be fun. I hate it when I am so wrong.
In the end, Mayhem should only be viewed by film students as a study of how not to assemble a successful tower action movie. Bad dialog, static/stereotypical characters without any flare, and uneven pacing, just bad on top of bad.
Plot: A law firm building is infected with a rage virus. Derek Cho (Steven Yeun) has 8 hours before the virus wears off and the quarantine lifted to take his revenge on his bosses and Melanie Cross (Samara Weaving) to save her house. This movie is a little like The Purge meets Belko Experiment.
What I Liked: The general premise has potential, and enjoyed the first 5 to 10 minutes of setup. The film explains the virus well, why killing under the influence has already been allowed and sets up the toxic environment in the office so we knew exactly where this ride was going.
Who doesn’t appreciate a nail gun being used as a weapon. Office killings can be extremely entertaining.
What I Didn’t Like: The rage virus infects everyone in the office and diminishes your inhibitions. So you are going to lash out irrationally, or have sex or run around naked, etc. Our two leads seem to go on a killing spree and then stop and have a calm moment of reflection. The alternating between these two modes seemed inconsistent, and inconsistent with those around them.
The same happened with the leaders of the company. Only one of them seemed off his rocker, instead of one of them knocking his brains out because they hated him. John ‘The Boss’ Towers (Steven Brand) was a one dimensional character—no correction, there were no dimension to the character and resembled a bad cartoon character, so it would have been logical that everyone hated him. Only one person seemed to have the hatred.
Then there were points where the story was taking a turn because we had to fill space. The boss has guards who are supposed to take care for Derek, and they take him to the basement. If they are infected by the rage virus, why wouldn’t they just kill him. I will tell you why, because we needed to set the stage for the long journey up the building.
Everything in this building focused on the elevator. I guess the director never heard of stairs. They did raid the maintenance closet of everything, so getting through a locked door would have been easy. No, bad story telling, we had to go for the elevator and card key.
There were so many bad elements to story telling that there was a significant amount of eye rolling and sighs of anguish while we watched.
Conclusion: Lack of consistency in reaction of the virus, weak kill scenes and poor story writing, make Mayhem almost unwatchable. Watch The Belko Experiment instead you get the office kills plus an opportunity explore the human condition.