Credit: TIFF
by Steven Warner Film

Get the Hell Out | I.-Fan Wang

September 22, 2020

Japanese zombie comedy Get the Hell Out, which also peppers in plenty of political commentary, wears its obvious influences like a badge of honor: some Sam Raimi (Evil Dead 2), a little early Peter Jackson (Dead Alive), a dose of Matthew Vaughn (Kingsman), a dash of Stephen Chow (Kung Fu Hustle), a pinch of Neveldine/Taylor (Crank) and a hearty helping of Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead). Unfortunately, director I.-Fan Wang is utterly incapable of turning this derivative amalgam into anything remotely palatable: the result is (predictably) muddled, both completely saturated in mimicry and entirely undercooked. Filmmaking tricks are likewise indiscriminately employed, an ostensible effort to evoke some (really, any) response: freeze frames, slow motion, undercranking, still photography, whip pans, ironic needle drops, Dutch angles, cartoonish sound effects, third-rate CGI — it’s all here. At various points, the effect is clearly intended to resemble a comic book come to life, with its use of illustrated overlays introducing characters and words like “HIT” and “POW” popping up on-screen during fight scenes. At other times, techniques are used to evoke a video game, with graphics depicting a character’s power levels and remaining health.

Put more simply, Get the Hell Out operates according to the principle of “see what sticks,” and its only consistency is the oppressive and obnoxious way in which each subsequent scene is delivered. The performers here practically scream every line of dialogue, mistaking volume for energy and/or humor. And the political commentary — which is a generous descriptor — essentially amounts to the reductive facility of, ‘You need to be bloodthirsty to succeed, no matter how pure your intent.’ The irony here is that the film depicts a Taiwanese pandemic that has the ability to go global unless one man steps up for the greater good, and in this way, the film could not have dropped at a more opportune moment. It’s too bad, then, that Wang does nothing of interest with this particular plot detail, instead handling it in the most obvious and simple-minded possible manner — he is far more interested in seeing how many different ways he can get gallons of blood to spray on a camera lens. Get the Hell Out only distinguishes itself in proving annoying to the point of unwatchability. While viewers would do well to heed the titular advice — the jokes practically write themselves — Wang would likewise benefit from some guidance, delivered with all the subtlety of his film: Shut the fuck up.

Published as part of TIFF 2020 — Dispatch 5.