Positioned in a political climate that reinforces the universality of corruption and an uphill climb for change, Get The Hell Out is a smart, satirical framework that connects the dots through a bloody frenzy of zombies and karaoke. Evoking the same pointed political critique that Japanese auteur Sion Sono has consistently amplified within genre film, director I-Fan Wang applies similar tendencies to Taiwan’s parliament with mostly satisfying results in his dizzying feature debut. With infectious energy and commitment from everyone involved, Get The Hell Out is a thrilling horror-comedy that never stops being a fun time.
As a virus – dubbed the “Rabies Virus” – starts emerging after a chemical plant emerges on the shores of Taiwan, Hsiung (Megan Lai) attempts to abolish the plant from the inside of parliament. After an incident causes her to lose her job, Hsiung enlists the help of Wang (Bruce Ho) to begin a campaign to help abolish the plant and save her home from being demolished by the plant’s existence. When the president of Taiwan is set to make an appearance in parliament regarding the issue, Hsiung plans her battle strategy. Only problem: the president has been ill and this marks his first appearance since an incident at the chemical plant.
Get The Hell Out is a thrilling horror-comedy that never stops being a fun time.
Get The Hell Out spends a decent amount of time developing its characters, their relationships, and setting the table for an absolute bloodbath of zombie carnage. It makes itself perfectly clear how abhorrent parliament is and the processes that beat down those trying to make honest change in the country. Watching Hsiung – who is more than capable of kicking ass – try to maneuver through parliament using a hapless and lovesick Wang as the face of her crusade is soul-crushing. I-Fan Wang lets audiences just feel the relentless pounding of defeat in the face of determination for as long as he can until just letting the movie take its natural course.
There’s no downtime for Get The Hell Out as it keeps viewers on their toes with its frenetic editing, swift camera movements, and delightfully cartoonish mayhem. Even introducing a character is met with hyper-stylized hand-drawn profiles of them complete with humorous nicknames. For many this might be off-putting as the movie never slows down, capturing the same breakneck pace and unbridled energy as Shin’ichirô Ueda’s One Cut of the Dead. From the opening moments, you’ll know whether the film is for you because it never lets up.
The fact that it can’t even pause its shenanigans in more emotional sequences is only further exemplification of how much fun it wants to have in comparison to how critical and sharp it could have been. Setting itself in the Taiwanese parliament with the potential for violence to break out at any point, everything building up to the eventual zombie outbreak does an excellent job capturing the ridiculousness of the political process and those involved. It’s when the blood starts flowing that it loses focus on being a crushing indictment of the system and instead leans more heavily on how absurd it all is – which is in itself a critique, but is far too broad to have any bite. In truth, Get The Hell Out is sort of impressive in how it changes focus but remains tonally consistent.
This is all due to the stylization of everything, including the performances. Everyone is working at the highest level of theatricality they can muster, as if they all did multiple lines of cocaine before stepping in front of the camera. Lai in particular does phenomenal work as the stubborn, quick-witted protagonist. She’s the heart of the film even if the script itself doesn’t quite give her plenty to make the emotions swell. Ho and the rest of the supporting cast are all firing on all cylinders as well, knowing full well they’re in a film that has broken free of its restraints. The chemistry between all involved is just as contagious as the Rabies Virus itself, and watching them band together against politicians-turned-zombie is exhilarating.
There is so much delight to be found in Get The Hell Out that it’s bound to be a film programmed for midnight audiences for a while. The jokes consistently land and the blood splatter never stops. It’s a movie that has it all which just so happens to be a blessing and a curse. Yet, for everything it lacks in focus, it still maintains infectiously charismatic energy. Armed with plenty of surprises both narratively and stylistically, I-Fan Wang’s satire is a strong debut that makes me wish I could see whatever he’s working on next, immediately.
The 45th edition of the Toronto International Film Festival, taking place September 10–19, is tailored to fit the moment, with physical screenings and drive-ins, digital screenings, virtual red carpets, press conferences, and industry talks. Find all our coverage here.