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[SXSW Review] ‘Mayhem’ Takes Killing to the Top Level

Steven Yeun and Samara Weaving in Joe Lynch's Mayhem

[SXSW Review] ‘Mayhem’ Takes Killing to the Top Level

Lots of people die in the bloody new film from Joe Lynch.

Lynch, who directed fan favorite Wrong Turn 2, Knights of Badassdom, and the Salma Hayek actioneer Everly, is back with his most violent film yet.

Mayhem, which had its world premiere at the ongoing SXSW Film Festival, stars “The Walking Dead’s” Steven Yeun as an attorney framed by a co-worker and wrongfully fired. Ironically, a mysterious virus is unleashed on his company that forces the entire building under quarantine for an entire workday. This virus is unique, though, affecting people’s primal inhibitions, which cause all employees to erupt into a tirade of vulgarities, sex, and violence. Furthermore, because said virus causes the host to act in a way that’s abnormal, they’re cleared of all murder over the period of infection. In turn, Derek Cho (Yeun) will work his way to the top of the building and make the partners pay for what they did to him.

Mayhem interestingly echoes Orion’s The Belko Experiment (also an homage to Battle Royale), while also mixing in elements from both The Raid and Dredd. What you get is an independent rager that’s pretty fucking hardcore.

[SXSW 2017] Keep up with all of the news and reviews here!

And even though “The Walking Dead” fans will tune in to see Yeun in the middle of more bloodshed, Samara Weaving absolutely steals the show, delivering a wicked performance that will remind many of Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn. The duo work their way up to the top, literally, by slaying everyone who stands in the way. Lynch has a lot of fun with Mayhem, using hammers and nailguns, while mostly avoiding typical gun play. There’s a lot of playful dialogue mixed with metal references, which hit peak awesome when Cho and his female counterpart kick some ass to Faith No More’s “Motherfucker”.

But I digress, Mayhem is a bit overly ambitious, which is the crux of the film’s problems; there’s a handful of bad extras and some of the set dressing isn’t up to par with bigger films, ultimately hurting it a bit. Still, Lynch grandiose approach is applauded; what the audience still gets is plenty of head-bang for their buck.

Mayhem is a popcorn munching riot that was made with good vibes and positive energy. You and your friends will have a blast watching two people kick the man’s ass in more way than one…



  • Ocelot006 .

    Lynch can’t get a break. He does that Faith No More video that ended up having already been done many times before and now he’s got this premiering right near the release of the Belko Experiment.

  • Why is there no rating? That new?

    • Hanno

      Thanks, at least I am not the only one complaining about missing skulls any more

    • YankyPanky

      They abolished the ratings system so they wont hurt holly wood cuck feelings. If they did that they would get no swag and interviews. You how these holly wood degenerates work. Thats why they always gave movies that sucked good ratings. That ended up pissing off a lot of folks and so they did away with it. It’s just the videogame sites saying every game is great while most are garbage.

  • Richie Roney

    Remember when this was called High Rise and Loki traversed to the top of the tower?

    • Except this is like 1000x better than High Rise. Also, this has more in common with The Raid than High Rise.

  • Hanno

    Why don’t we get any skull evaluation on your reviews any more?

  • SpacemanSpliffz

    who knew a dame covered in blood and brandishing a nail gun could look so effing foxy?

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