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Joe Lynch
Steven Yeun, Samara Weaving
Writing Credits:
Matias Caruso

A virus spreads through an office complex causing white collar workers to act out their worst impulses.

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 87 min.
Price: $29.97
Release Date: 12/26/2017

• Audio Commentary with Director Joe Lynch, Director of Photography Steve Gainer and Editor Josh Ethier
• “Creating Mayhem” Featurette
• “The Collected Works of Derek Cho” Featurette
• Previews


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Mayhem [Blu-Ray] (2017)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (January 2, 2018)

An action-horror tale set in a limited environment, 2017’s Mayhem introduces us to Derek Cho (Steven Yeun). An attorney at a corporate law office, Derek gets fired – unjustly, he believes, a factor that leaves him disgruntled.

While this occurs, a vicious virus appears and forces the building into quarantine. As a result of the disease, the inhabitants lose self-control, a factor that leads Derek and former client Melanie Cross (Samara Weaving) into a massive “kill or be killed” battle.

Which doesn’t feel like a half-bad premise for an action flick. Does that sound like a plot-heavy experience? Nope, but I don’t mind, as I like the potential for brutal and tense material.

With a skilled filmmaker, Mayhem could’ve excelled, but director Joe Lynch has proven to be spotty at best. Actually, he debuted surprisingly well with the better-than-expected direct-to-video sequel Wrong Turn 2.

However, Lynch faltered with both of his subsequent efforts. Knights of Badassdom and Everly offered potential for fun, but they lacked much entertainment value.

Add Mayhem to that pile of lackluster efforts, as Lynch can’t exploit the material to the desired degree. Instead, he makes the film into an aggressive, obnoxious affair.

The action scenes tend to mistake basic violence for excitement. These lack much to give them a visceral impact, so they just toss brutality our way without meaning.

As noted, Mayhem lacks much in terms of plot, but it does posit itself as a social commentary. The film offers a satire of the corporate culture, but these traits flop, as they seem too on the nose and lame.

When we move to characters, they become another liability. All involved – even Derek and Melanie – seem so unpleasant that we don’t root for anyone.

This leaves a hole at the film’s center. We should go into the tale with some basic motivation to care about some of the participants, but we don’t – they all seem like d-bags, so we don’t care who lives or dies.

Really, it’s the over the top exaggerated sensibility that Lynch brings to Mayhem that harms it most. A movie amped to 11 too much of the time, we get aggressive violence without much purpose.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B+/ Bonus C+

Mayhem appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The transfer presented the film in an appealing manner.

Sharpness looked good. Some softness hit wider shots, but those instances remained mostly insubstantial, so the majority of the flick showed fine clarity and accuracy.

Shimmering failed to distract, but a smidgen of jaggies crept in once or twice. Edge haloes remained absent, and the movie also lacked any source flaws.

In terms of colors, Mayhem went with subdued tones, as the movie tended toward a mix of white and teal. The hues never stood out as memorable, but they weren’t supposed to be impressive, so they were fine for this story’s stripped palette.

Blacks were pretty deep, and shadows were well-depicted. The image offered a solid “B+” presentation.

As for the movie’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, it packed the expected action, with active use of the various channels. Music filled the various channels in a satisfying manner, and effects fleshed out the spectrum in a logical way.

The film often opted for a hyper-real mix, so expect a lot of exaggerated elements. Those worked for the story and added punch to the proceedings.

Audio quality pleased. Speech was concise and natural, while effects remained vivid and full-bodied.

In addition, music was vibrant and dynamic. The audio suited the story and brought power to the tale.

As we move to extras, we get an audio commentary from director Joe Lynch, director of photography Steve Gainer and editor Josh Ethier. All three sit together for a running, screen-specific view of sets and locations, editing, cinematography, stunts, cast and performances, effects and related domains.

Led by Lynch, this becomes a lively, frank and often profane commentary. We get a good overview of the production and don’t find the usual fluffy feel, mainly because Lynch seems unable to censor himself. That allows this to turn into a vivid chat.

Creating Mayhem runs 11 minutes, 55 seconds and provides notes from Lynch and actors Samara Weaving and Steven Yeun. “Creating” looks at story/characters, cast and performances, Lynch’s impact on the shoot, working in Serbia, and how life experiences connected to the film. “Creating” turns into an above-average featurette.

With The Collected Works of Derek Cho, we find a one-minute, 26-second reel. It shows close-ups of the art created by the movie’s lead. It’s a decent glimpse of this material.

The disc opens with ads for All Cheerleaders Die, Odd Thomas and Wolf Cop. No trailer for Mayhem appears here.

Despite some potential to become a solid action flick, Mayhem lacks the clarity and purpose it needs to succeed. Instead, it sticks with over the top shenanigans and little else. The Blu-ray offers very good picture and audio as well as supplements highlighted by a brisk commentary. Mayhem does little more than induce headaches.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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