Get the Hell Out: A Riotous, Albeit Unfocused Zombie Comedy (TIFF 2020 Review)
Get the Hell Out is an often fun, occasionally exhausting cinematic experience rife with bloody thrills, goofy comedy, and delightful self-awareness.
Geysers of blood, wrestling-inspired action sequences, a Boss Battle, meme references: these are just some of the delights waiting in the excitingly unhinged Get the Hell Out. The first feature from director Wang I-Fan crashes through its brisk 96 minute runtime, relishing in its chaos of gonzo violence and cheesy comedy. In one word: relentless. From the candy-colored visuals to the over-the-top action, Get the Hell Out is an exhilarating, if unfocused vision by a young filmmaker.
Unfortunately, the first thirty minutes of setup is easily the film’s weakest part. After a contrived and convoluted series of events involving a factory spewing toxic waste, a political election, martial arts, and some listless political commentary, we get to the good stuff. The zombie violence. Wang attempts to satirize the professional veneer of politics and how it often gives way to showy shenanigans, especially in his home country of Taiwan, but turning politicians into raging zombies feels too obvious, especially when the zombie sub-genre has a decades long history of similar political commentary. Perhaps the most telling moment is that before the characters know they’re dealing with zombies, they call the infected “idiots.” The commentary is so aggressively on the nose it borders on being obnoxious, but thankfully Wang seems more interested in the gloriously bloody violence and goofy comic antics.
Wang’s form is all over the place, which will be exciting for some and exhausting for others. At its worst, the film feels like it’s throwing whatever it can at the audience to see what sticks. That said, it does make for some surprising, hilarious, and thrilling filmmaking, as you never know what is coming. A sing along number satirizing governmental indoctrination? Sure! A Boss Battle complete with movesets, stats, and a health bar? Why not! References to popular memes that will surely age within a couple years? Of course! Moments like these feel like a young filmmaker playing with the cinematic form and different styles of comedy. It is refreshing to witness a vision seemingly uninhibited by studio mandates and market testing. Additionally, what sells the extravagant violence and comedy is the film’s self-awareness. It knowingly disavows seriousness in favor of whatever deliriously silly escapades it wants to indulge in.
At the end of the day, there is not too much to say about Get the Hell Out. Most of the experience is surface-level, which is not a bad thing in and of itself. It appears to exist mostly to provide a fun respite from the distressing events of the real world, and as such, it succeeds. It may not be the most insightful or focused zombie movie, it may not have the most memorable characters, but it triumphs in providing huge amounts of bloodletting, bonkers comedy, and a fast-paced, stripped-down narrative that’s bound to entertain.
Get the Hell Out premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on Thursday, September 10, 2020. The film will be screened online later today: click here for more information and tickets.
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