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Love Is Dead
by: Jerry Smith
Director: Joe Lynch
Writer: Matias Caruso
Stars: Steven Yeun, Samara Weaving, Steven Brand
Run Time: 1h 26min
Country/Language: USA/ English
Coming out swinging like a fighter from hell, Joe Lynch's MAYHEM is without a doubt, one of the most balls to the wall, take no prisoners, blood on the wall and jokes galore rides that you'll see anytime soon. Taking what feels like 28 DAYS LATER meets THE RAID, Lynch and co. have quite the film on their hands, one which boasts a performance by The Walking Dead's Steven Yeun that is sure to offer the talented actor a barrage of lead roles following this standout film.
Bypassing the typical "why is this happening?!" approach to infection films, MAYHEM does a great job of laying down a foundation of an infection that already exists when the film begins, explaining that a virus that is sure to be contained by the end of the year is out there and any person or place that is infected is to be quarantined until it can be stopped.
That upfront explanation helps get you into the setup and when we meet Steven Yeun's Derek character, he's a man who explains to the audiences that all he wanted when joining an illustrious firm was to be able to do what his family never was able to: sit at the big kid's table, we sympathize for the guy. We're shown that over the short amount of time that he's worked there, he's comprimised his values in favor of a promotion and when Melanie Cross (Samara Weaving), a lawyer who is trying to save her home asks Derek for help, his loss of morals comes into play as he doesn't help her. Not too long afterwards, Derek is setup for a snafu that he had no part of creating and is systemically and callously fired, but not before becoming one of the many infected employees, infected by a virus that fills its host with rage, lust and an uncontrollable amount of craziness.
With being infected and devoted to get to the bosses at the top of the building, the enraged Derek fights his way through insane co-workers, shady enforcers and quite a few hilarious situations that will make you think of kale, Faith No More and quite a few other things very differently than before. Lynch's knack for creating breakneck action, hilarious wit and characters that you really care about is upfront in MAYHEM and the combination of Yeun and Weaving as a reluctant team, is one that is pretty easy to get on board with. Who else would take a break from sending blood all over the building on their way to the top, just to debate whether or not the Dave Matthews Band is decent live and talk about D.R.I. and Motorhead? It's that heavy metal, in your face approach to MAYHEM that makes the film so hilariously enjoyable and there isn't a single moment in the film in which it loses its speed of pummeling you with violence, sex, drugs and rock and roll.
The film's metal soundtrack, the VERY fast and fun editing from Josh Ethier, the performances from Yeun, Weaving and also a very funny one by fellow Walking Dead alumn Dallas Roberts all fit together very well, making for one hell of a ride, all at the hands of one of the genre's most maniacal madmen, Joe Lynch. It's a cocaine, metal and rage-filled cornucopia of violence, humor and blood, one which will surely be a crowd favorite.