If you’ve ever had the dubious privilege of working in an office, you’ll be aware of all the niggles, pent-up frustrations and internal anger synonymous with that kind of environment. The pettiness. The back-stabbing. The nepotism. The higher the stakes, the higher the tensions. When salaries start hitting 6 or 7 figures, the rivalry, underhand tactics and genuine enmity are more likely to bubble enthusiastically beneath the surface. What would happen if this natural boiling pot is allowed to burst? Without controls. Without consequences. Joe Lynch’s new film Mayhem looks at just that.
Derek Cho (Steven Yeun) is a model employee at Towers & Smthye Consulting. The idealism at the start of his legal career has quickly warped into a rabid desire for promotion, status and success. Thus, fitting perfectly into the company ethos. However, when he’s made the fall guy he finds his career in tatters. This coincides with the outbreak of a virus in the office, which causes everyone affected to lose all inhibitions; leading to the quarantining of the building. With 8 hours until the contagion clears, he teams up with Melanie Cross (Samara Weaving), an aggrieved petitioner, to take their cases all the way to the big boss (Steven Brand) on the top floor.
Mayhem really lives up to its name. Playing out like the levels of a ‘beat-them-up’ video games, Cho and Cross cut, chop, stab and shoot their way through a number of levels. There characters complement each other perfectly, whilst the bosses are portrayed with blunt hideous clarity. Clichés abound and are exploited to great effect. The action never stops and it’s an absolute blast. Almost a cathartic experience (someone has actually stolen my mug). Mayhem brings the cut and thrust of the office environment to life with brutal, brilliant and hilarious glee.