The scaled down nature of TIFF 2020 might’ve robbed audiences of the intoxicating, warm, and raucous experience of seeing a film programmed into the Midnight Madness section of with an audience, but fear not. The gonzo Taiwanese horror-comedy Get the Hell Out – a satirical parable about a different sort of pandemic – has so much madness it could fuel a decade’s worth of midnight screenings.
For his feature debut, I-Fan Wang sets a zombie outbreak thriller against the backdrop of Taiwanese politics, with most of Get the Hell Out taking place in the halls of parliament, where – even in the real world – it’s not surprising to see pro wrestling style theatricality and even a few thrown punches. Hsiung (Megan Lai) is an MP on her way out of office after trying to stop some greedy fellow politicos from building a chemical plant that’s spreading a form of rabies where her home once stood. After sparking an all out brawl between politicians and the media, Hsiung is a lame duck trying to coax her doofus replacement – Wang (Bruce Ho) – into forwarding her agenda from a distance. Wang is a former parliament security guard with a lifelong crush on Hsiung, but he’s also easily corrupted by promises of power. One day, the president turns into a zombie and the legislature becomes a bloodbath, with Hsiung, Wang, and several others fighting to make it out alive.
The plot of Get the Hell Out outlines the ways corruption and placing personality over policy have made a mockery of global politics, but it’s mostly just an excuse for I-Fan Wang to mount one of the most belovedly bonkers, over the top, and endlessly referential comedies in ages. Every small detail from costumes to prop choices have been cranked up to stratospherically high degrees. Get the Hell Out employs every style of filmmaking ever conceived, and it is A LOT to take in. As with anything this chaotic, your mileage may very and not every joke will hit its intended mark. But if you can get on its wavelength, there’s plenty to enjoy, with a closing message about helping the human race before helping oneself landing with a strange amount of poignancy in today’s current climate.
Recommended if you like lucha libre wrestling, 28 Days Later, Oliver Stone, RPGs, Joseph Kahn, memes, ZAZ parody flicks from the 80s, Troma, early Sam Raimi, Stephen Chow, anime, Charlie Chaplin, karaoke, the weirder efforts of Takashi Miike, Joe Dante, Edgar Wright, Sion Sono, political discourse, or Lamberto Bava.
Get the Hell Out is available to stream for a limited time from TIFF via Bell Digital Cinema starting at 6:00 pm on Friday, September 11. All digital screenings for TIFF are geolocked to Canada.