MAYHEM [FrightFest]

PrintE-mail Written by John Higgins

Joe Lynch was back with a vengeance at this year’s FrightFest, not only in terms of the content of his latest film, but generally because his presence at the Festival alongside fellow Douche Brother Adam Green is always a welcome one.

There was only one ‘Road To FrightFest’ Short this year, compared to five in previous festivals on one occasion, partly due to time constraints, but also because Lynch’s latest film, Mayhem was getting it’s European Premiere.

From the outset, when ‘The Thieving Magpie’ starts playing during the opening sequences, the film does mirror an earlier offering which featured that music, Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange. Mayhem is not as dangerous or as controversial as that film, but it still provides a satirically bloodthirsty punch that could rival the early 1970s classic.

Set in the world of corporate consultancy, Mayhem tells of employee Derek Cho (Steven Yuen), a driven lawyer who has worked his way up, only to be stabbed in the back by another employee and brought up on gross misconduct charges. It’s not the only thing that is worrying for him. A virus is causing employees to lose their inhibitions and to go doo-lally in the upper floors of power, coupled with the military locking down the building in an emergency. Derek is now faced with a struggle to clear his name, as well as his immune system….

Mayhem provides Joe Lynch with the perfect opportunity to try and escape his horror roots, as he does demonstrate a great eye and director’s instinct for getting good performances out of his cast. Although the blood flows as freely as it does in Wrong Turn 2, there is a purpose for it here, as well as the sort of style and substance that personified the likes of The Wolf Of Wall Street and American Psycho. Steven Yuen is excellent in the lead role of Derek and there is good support from the likes of Shallow Grave’s Kerry Fox as one of the corporate board members he has to battle to clear his name and conscience.

Even without the excess of blood, Mayhem would work very well enough along the lines of a film like Margin Call, which paralleled the Lehman Brothers collapse and there are sufficient moments of dark humour throughout heightening the satire.

We really do hope Lynch gets the chance to do more down-to-earth and varied work in other kinds of genres. Like Green, he is a talented filmmaker and astute mind who can certainly evolve and grow beyond the horror genre. On balance, though, we do hope that he remains within his roots to give us more of the same type of gore and excess in his earlier work and continue to thrill us as he has always done at future FrightFests.

MAYHEM / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR: JOE LYNCH / SCREENPLAY: MATIAS CARUSO / STARRING: STEVEN YUEN, KERRY FOX, SAMARA WEAVING / RELEASE DATE: UK RELEASE TBA



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