Horror has frequently been used as a vehicle for social and political commentary. From the films of George Romero to the extremely different styles of Get Out and President Evil monsters have been used to deliver messages. Sometimes subtly, sometimes not so subtly. Get the Hell Out from director I.-Fan Wang and his co-writers Shih-Keng Chien and Wan-Ju Yang is, as you may have guessed from the title, not one of the more subtle examples.
Hsiung Ying-ying (Megan Lai) managed to get herself elected in order to prevent the destruction of her village to make way for a giant chemical plant. Rival politician Li Kuo-chung (Chung-wang Wang) goads her into a fight which results in her removal from office. Security guard Wang You-wei (Bruce Hung) who was caught in the middle of it all becomes a hero, and gets her seat in Parliament. Both sides seek to use him, but he’s smitten by Ying-ying.
On the day the matter comes to a vote Parliament becomes more chaotic than usual as the president starts biting people, who in turn bite more people. Pretty soon it’s 28 Votes Later as the building is overrun with flesh eating Rabies Virus zombies. Can the survivors stop trying to backstab each other long enough to get the hell out and escape?
Get the Hell Out opens with a reminder that a bad movie bothers you for ninety minutes, a bad government for four years From there the film launches into an energetic, if not downright hyperactive assault on the Taiwanese legislature. From cartoon drawings to brawls complete with pro wrestling style body slamming action. And this is before the zombies show up.
Once the blood starts flowing Get the Hell Out manages to become even more over the top. How far over? You-wei uses a Taosist monk he’s giving the Heimlich Maneuver on as a weapon against the zombies, complete with word balloons reminiscent of Adam West’s Batman. That far over.
The violence is plentiful with blood flying everywhere. Genuine artificial blood too, not CGI for once. But, like everything else in the film it’s stylized and not realistic. If you’re expecting Yummy or One Cut of the Dead type violence with your humour you’ll be disappointed.
Thankfully everyone involved with Get the Hell Out realized just what kind of a film they were making and played the material accordingly. The cast all look like they did several lines of coke and chased them with three scoops of pre-workout before stepping in front of the camera. I realize this kind of overacting turns a lot of people off of Asian comedies, especially horror comedies and I’m not always up for it myself. This is like somebody overacting in the role of someone who is overacting. Added to all of Get the Hell Out’s other outrageous elements though, it works wonderfully.
Some reviews have referred to Get the Hell Out as political satire, but it’s way too obvious and it’s humour too broad to be satire. This is something close to a live action Roadrunner cartoon in style. And its lampooning of everything from the press to petty bureaucrats, international relations and political corruption. One bit that definitely hit home now is an early thread where the government tries to deny the Rabies Virus is linked to the plant, or is even dangerous.
Get the Hell Out will obviously play better to those familiar with its home country’s politics. But if you can take this kind of hyperactive slapstick you should have a great time no matter where you’re from.
Get the Hell Out will play this year’s Saskatoon Fantastic Film Festival Friday November 27th. Appropriately enough it’s the midnight show. You can check for future screenings and release plans on its Facebook page and website. Both are in Chinese, but that’s what Google Translate is for.