Gory ‘May­hem’ not to all tastes

Los Angeles Times - - AT THE MOVIES - — Noel Mur­ray

At a key mo­ment dur­ing a gory melee in the hor­ror­com­edy “May­hem,” two char­ac­ters put down their nail guns for a minute to ar­gue about the artis­tic mer­its of the Dave Matthews Band. Is this di­gres­sion an­noy­ingly glib, or fun? How view­ers re­act may de­ter­mine whether they ap­pre­ci­ate the rest of the movie.

Writ­ten by Ma­tias Caruso and di­rected by Joe Lynch (who also made the kooky and stylish “Knights of Badass­dom” and “Everly”), “May­hem” stars lik­able “Walk­ing Dead” castoff Steven Yeun as Derek, an am­bi­tious but still con­sci­en­tious lawyer who sees his com­pet­i­tive firm turn down­right Dar­winian af­ter the of­fice is in­fected with a virus that turns hu­mans homi­ci­dal.

In­tended as a satire of cor­po­rate amoral­ity, the movie’s mes­sage is too pat to have much im­pact. It’s also odd that so much of the cast is made up of Bri­tish and Aus­tralian ac­tors, who strug­gle to main­tain Amer­i­can ac­cents when­ever the ac­tion’s heated.

One of those im­ports — Sa­mara Weav­ing, play­ing some­one cheated by Derek’s firm — does brighten the pic­ture, giv­ing the hero a charm­ing part­ner as he fights his way past lit­er­ally blood­thirsty as­so­ciates on his way to take down his evil bosses.

That said, while Lynch has ex­pe­ri­ence de­liv­er­ing breezy ac­tion, “breezy” can shade into “friv­o­lous” — or even “for­get­table.” As good as Yeun and Weav­ing are, there’s not a lot here that hasn’t been done. That doesn’t make “May­hem” bad. Call it an ac­quired taste that not ev­ery­one will find palat­able. “May­hem.” Rated: R, for bloody vi­o­lence, per­va­sive lan­guage, some sex­u­al­ity/ nu­dity and drug use. Run­ning time: 1 hour, 28 min­utes. Play­ing: Mon­ica Film Cen­ter, Santa Mon­ica

Sanja Bucko

DEREK’S (STEVEN YEUN) of­fice is in­fected with a virus that makes peo­ple homi­ci­dal in “May­hem.”

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