TIFF 2020: GET THE HELL OUT REVIEW

Rating: 3 out of 5.

If you’ve always been itching to see a Taiwanese political zomromcom with slapstick humour and over-the-top visual effects, well, Get The Hell Out is what you’ve been waiting for. Director I-Fan Wang’s feature debut plays like a heartfelt tribute to director Edgar Wright’s stylish blockbusters (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, Scott Pilgrim) and is a mostly fun watch that occasionally leans too heavily into the silliness.

Get The Hell Out sees Taiwan’s politicians turn parliament into an undead party as they fall victim to a virus from a nearby power plant. Our heroine is the badass Hsiung (Megan Lai), a headstrong female kicked out of office due to a penchant for getting into physical brawls. She gains a sidekick in security guard Wang (Bruce Ho) who runs for office and secretly promotes her policies on her behalf. When the zombie outbreak hits, the countdown starts for Hsiung and Wang to, well… Get the Hell out of there.

You barely get a moment to breathe throughout the entire movie, the scenes are all so fast-paced and bombastic. It’s an assault on the eyes and ears, but a lot of fun to watch. The wardrobe and set-design is fantastic – every scene pops with so many vivid colours and gorgeous outfits. The visual effects, plastered throughout the movie, are just as great to behold. But there’s no getting away from the feeling you’re watching a tribute-act to Shaun of the Dead; the direction and visual stylings are, at times, too similar. In many ways this is no bad thing – Shaun of the Dead is incredible – but this keeps Get The Hell Out from having it’s own identity.

The climactic encounter of the outbreak could have been lifted directly out of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, as the final boss of the parliament is fought in a video-game-battle complete with health bars, special moves and RPG-pop-ups. Again, a visual treat, but something that we’ve seen done elsewhere before.

The jokes in Get The Hell Out are thrown at you a mile a minute, and with such a visual film it’s hard not to miss things when you’re trying to read subtitles and keep up with what’s happening on-screen. Amongst all of these jokes, some of them land and had me laughing out loud or shouting at the TV, whilst others took the slapstick too far and were just cringe-inducing. Everything is fast-paced enough that even when the humour crosses into childishness, it doesn’t last long enough to completely derail the movie.

The cast do a great job of leaning into the absurdity of the movie, and everyone is generally pretty great at crossing back-and-forth between serious zombie fights and fourth-wall-breaking gags. The plot slightly lost it’s way around two-thirds in, though it’s hard to tell if it’s just a result of exhaustion after having so much thrown at you so quickly for the entire film. Some of the smarter jokes and political critiques were probably lost on me as someone with no knowledge of Taiwanese parliament – I’d be interested to know what Taiwan itself thinks of Get The Hell Out.

For me, it was a fun, silly, heavily referential movie that highlighted I-Fan Wang’s inspirations. At times it crossed the line into being just a little too bonkers, and the story buckled under the weight of all the slapstick jokes, but it was a visual splendor and a fun watch nonetheless.

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