Blake Crane reviews “Mayhem” and “Princess Cyd” for Film Racket

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Princess Cyd uses quiet grace and astute observation to transcend dramatic tropes we’ve seen countless times. Typically, a story about two very different people from disparate generations thrown together and learning from each other is easily-mapped-out mawkishness. It’s refreshing here because of a penetrating focus on character instead of merely what each character represents. These are real people and not just screenplay ciphers existing to preach about coming of age or rediscovering exuberance.


Office politics get gory in Mayhem, an action/comedy/horror concoction in which coworkers engage in bloody combat. The setup is similar to this year’s The Belko Experiment, which is more mean-spirited and less perceptive of the office environment as related to its high concept. Mayhem does a much better job of maintaining its tone while pivoting from horrific encounters to comedic observations. Director Joe Lynch enthusiastically moves from one wild sequence to the next and sustains energy even as the screenplay occasionally pauses to rehash story, with information dumps that somewhat belie the film’s title.


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