Big business - especially law - is always a cut-throat thing, but nothing comes close to the literal backstabbing that takes place when a rage virus infects people in a high rise office block.
As it’s described by our hero, Derek (The Walking Dead’s Yeun) in the prologue, the virus in question, ID7, causes sufferers to relinquish their inhibitions and let their emotions take control. Whether that’s shagging someone in public or smashing the face in of someone who has irked you depends entirely on how you are made up. Derek has struggled to find his place in his job. Until that is, he came up with a defence for a murderer who was suffering from the virus, arguing that he wasn’t in control. They were acquitted.
Unfortunately, someone above his pay grade has set him up with a failed account and he loses his job; just as the ID7 virus has been detected in the building, putting it on lockdown for eight hours as he attempts to plead his case and regain his job while he and all those around him are losing control.
It’s a simple set-up that works wonderfully thanks to the likeable Yeun, who proves he is just as adept at inflicting violence on the living as he did on the zombies. He’s joined in his rampaging quest for justice by Melanie (Ash vs Evil Dead’s Weaving), who is about to lose her home on a technicality that the firm will not do anything about. Even though ‘right’ is on their side, their methods are certainly unorthodox. They appear to be relishing the outlet the virus has given them, particularly when it comes to bringing down those who assume they are better because they get more money.
Following Derek and Melanie’s trip to the top floor is just bloody brilliant executive stress relief. Evil, self-centred boardroom bullies get their just deserts and chaos reigns for the day. Although we’re focused on the downtrodden duo, as the title suggests, mayhem takes place all over the building. Director Lynch gives us flashes of this throughout, making a second viewing an almost necessity in order to capture the pandemonium taking place, but it never gets in the way of the real focus.
Unfortunately, some characters are not as fleshed out as others, positioning them as mere obstacles for our heroes to overcome - much like in a video game - and as such any emotional resonance we’re meant to feel for Derek’s only office friend isn’t really justified.
Despite that small misgiving, it’s a hell of a ride that gives us a deeply satirical look at office politics and provides a massive amount of wish fulfilment.
MAYHEM / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: JOE LYNCH / SCREENPLAY: MATIAS CARUSO / STARRING: STEVEN YEUN, SAMARA WEAVING, STEVEN BRAND, CAROLINE CHIKEZIE, KERRY FOX / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW (VOD), JULY 16TH (DVD)