GET THE HELL OUT (Toronto International Film Festival 2020)


Some films enter your mind quietly. They sneak in through the back door of your consciousness, and find a place to roost amongst the memories of craft beer nights and concerts. Some films bash their way into the center of your being with a crowbar. I-Fan Wang’s feature film burst through the door of my brain with a bottle of booze in hand and made a lot of commotion. GET THE HELL OUT screened at Toronto International Film Festival as part of it’s genre filled “Midnight Madness” selection that often acts as a kind of tastemaking for genre films to watch for through the upcoming year. This year, of course, is no different, and GET THE HELL OUT provided a loud entry for foreign “gonzo” horror martial arts zombie comedy, and if that sounds like a lot of different flavours thrown together – you aren’t wrong. It is. And it’s definitely not a palatable taste for a lot of film goers.

The film is set in Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan Parliament, which if you haven’t done your YouTubing, is something like Donald Trump’s twitter feed, and a backyard wrestling match going on during a Shakespeare play. Members of parliament regularly get into punching matches, people have the snot beat out of them, bills are set to flame, and the whole thing plays out like a kind of extreme partisan dinner theatre with a two drink minimum. The film version of Legislative Yuan is not much different, though gangsters in fancy dress make more appearances. Hsiung (played by Megan Lai) is our heroine, a young upstart of an MP desperate to save her homeland from the encroaching toxic waste plant that dumps “idiot rabies” into water sources and caused the destruction of her childhood home.

When she uses her kung fu moves on a sexist reporter, and gets thrown out of parliament, she enlists the help of a childhood crush Wang (Bruce Ho) to act as her mouthpiece to stop a bill going through. While the political intrigue is going down, the spread of idiot rabies is zombifying the population, and adding zombies to the political WWE SlamFest doesn’t have the same amount of bite as it would in a standard pandemic zombie film.
I-Fan Wang states at the start of GET THE HELL OUT that “a bad movie can make you suffer for two hours and a bad government can make you suffer for four years”. The government officials are shown to be bumbling idiots, which isn’t necessarily that far away from the horrifying reality we all tend to live in. The inclusion of zombies bringing only blood and gore to the table seems to be a commentary on how so many of us walk through our lives – idiots, angry, zombies.

GET THE HELL OUT tries to be many things – running off at the mouth like a kind of video game or anime where all of the characters seem larger than life. And while I wanted to connect emotionally in some way to any of the characters, it was a way funner ride to just buckle in and enjoy the sights. High heeled boots slamming down on the faces of gangsters, zombies ripping people to shreds as MP members give impassioned speeches, screaming. It’s a carnival funhouse of the weird and the bonkers, but while it may adopt political window dressing, is definitely not an intellectual film. It was an enjoyable ride, and an admirable first effort from I-Fan Wang, but ultimately this film is not going to be for everyone.


You can check out more TIFF coverage up from Drunk in a Graveyard:
SCARS (short film)
10 Films to See at TIFF 2020


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