Occasionally I like a good dose of tongue firmly planted in cheek when it comes to horror/action/violent cinema. You get too much of that serious, brooding, bloody cinema and I think it starts to affect you. Like, you only want to eat organic food and drink purified water and you forget the pleasures of a cheap, $5 pizza and indulging in an entire pint of Ben and Jerry’s in one sitting. Don’t get me wrong, I love the seriously scary and dark stuff. That sort of thing is what molded me into the fine, upstanding citizen I am today, don’t you know. But on occasion a big, splattery, no-hold-barred horror/comedy is just what the doctor ordered. Shaun of the Dead, Fright Night, Zombieland, Scream, and many other movies over the years have given me great joy as I watched their bloody hijinks. As a parent, it’s also great to have some lighter fare to sit and enjoy on a Friday night with the kids. Sure, I’m sure there’s some parents that would scoff, or dare I say freak the f**k out, at the thought of their pre-teen watching Zombieland. To those parents, I say you’re not doing your kids any favors. Our oldest was watching The Simpsons and Futurama at 2 years old. She’s now going to one of the best private high schools in the state with colleges all over the country falling over themselves to get her to commit to them. Maybe it was all the Baby Einstein videos and being breastfed and read to every night that made her smart, but I’m still giving Matt Groening credit.
Anyways, a movie that can be added to the list of great horror/action/comedy films is Joe Lynch’s Mayhem. The premise is simple: workers at a consulting firm are quarantined to their office building due to being infected with a virus called ID-7. The virus isn’t lethal but it causes people to act on their most basic urges; be it love, hate, anger, happiness. In the case of this building, these are people that work in an office and subjugate their true feelings for just “going through the motions” as they’re at work. It’s a corporate world, and as we know it can be a dog-eat-dog kind of environment. The protagonist Derek, played by Steve Yeun(The Walking Dead‘s Glen) has just been framed for losing a big account and is fired. As he’s walked down to the lobby of the building he realizes the building has been quarantined and everyone inside infected with the ID-7. After years of selling little pieces of his soul here and there for a corner office and a seat at the executive table he lets all those feelings out and turns into a one man wrecking machine. He teams up with a woman(The Babysitter‘s Samara Weaving) who came to the firm to try and get an extension on her mortgage but was turned down and they battle their way through each floor of the building so Derek can get to the board room and plead his case. Oh, I forgot to mention that any acts of violence, mayhem, and murder will not be prosecuted because the courts deemed anyone committing crimes under the influence of ID-7 can’t be held accountable for their crimes or actions.
All bets are off.
So basically this movie is a cross between 28 Days Later, Enter The Dragon, The Towering Inferno, and Office Space. Yeun is great in it, as is Weaving. There’s all the office stereotypes and they’re turned up to 20 in this thing. Scissors, nail guns, staplers, hammers, and fire extinguishers are used accordingly to exact punishment on those who get in the way. The film has that SyFy original look, but fortunately the acting and action make up for any lack of a sleek look. And there are no Sharknados to be found, so that’s a plus.
The other thing that brought me to this film was the soundtrack by Steve Moore. Moore has quickly become one of my favorite film score composers, doing amazing work for The Guest, Cub, and The Mind’s Eye. The Mind’s Eye saw Moore shortening the pieces, where as before he made longer tracks. With Mayhem that trend continues. It’s a double LP with 6 or 7 tracks to a side. They’re shorter but feel punchier. He’s utilizing more dancier tracks, with an almost techno feel in certain pieces. I’d say this is probably one his most unique scores to date. You can really hear Steve Moore stretching out a bit with this one, and his deft synth playing works well to pump up the action and anxiety throughout the film.
So hey, if you like action and comedy but horror isn’t really your bag, you should give Mayhem a try. It’s a mess of Friday night fun. Well, Saturday night fun for us as that’s when we watched it. The wife and the teens and I. Honestly, I’m not sure if my wife and 14-year old daughter even paid attention to it. But my son and I loved it.
Come on, who doesn’t want to see Glen beat a bunch of executives up with a hammer?