“The workplace in current day America is very passive aggressive. People are hyper sensitive, no one wants to get sued, no one speaks their mind, then tension builds into rage,” said Director Joe Lynch on the setting of his latest bloody masterpiece, Mayhem.
The script written by Matias Caruso was rooted in the reality of the modern corporate world: a world that was very familiar to Lynch. “When Circle of Confusion sent me the script, I was working a corporate job and the main character Derek was me. Movies before I “wanted” to make… this one I needed to make,” revealed Lynch.
The story involves a virus that infects a corporate law office on the day attorney Derek Cho is framed by a co-worker and wrongfully fired. The infection is capable of making people act out their wildest impulses. Trapped in the quarantined building, our hero is forced to savagely fight for not only his job, but also his life. “This is a William Lustig, Larry Cohen style film (referencing the great genre films of the 80’s that had meaning under the carnage). It’s amazing what we got away with and to still have a message. I went into this project guns blazing. Every challenge that was thrown my way, I had to steer the ship, because this is a personal film,” Lynch confessed.
The road to filming, like many indie films was a long one. The Production Company and agency made a great talent package but couldn’t find money for the full budget. Since the budget was not cast contingent, they let the filmmakers open to cast whomever they wanted. Steven Yuen, best known for “The Walking Dead” was cast first as the protagonist Derek, and Samara Weaving (The Babysitter, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri) was cast as Melanie, his partner in chaos. “Steven was the best for the role, Samara is great and seeing them together everyone loved them, they became such a team, the heart of the movie,” added Lynch.
The film was shot in Serbia due to major tax breaks that enabled the crew to shoot 25 days instead of 15. Lynch brought on Cinematographer Steve Gainer, whom he had worked with before on the 2014 film, Everly. They had a shorthand for working together that made the shoot run smoothly. Once Gainer was on board, getting the rest of the crew was easy. Lynch added, “We were killing ourselves to make this come together, but we were a family and we were all, all in.” The edit took place afterward with Josh Ethier. “I worked with Josh before, we are friends, and I am forever a huge admirer of his work. He’s very sensible in editorial and knows all the best choices. With Josh, the first cut was 60% there already.” Mayhem has opened to stellar reviews and tremendous buzz on the web.
Lynch stated, “I think it’s the right time for this film. It’s about America, it’s about corporate culture and now that it’s playing all over the world and everyone’s getting it, it’s all been a dream come true.”