Gonzo zombie action movies aren’t for everyone, but in the vein of South Korea’s Train to Busan and Japan’s One Cut of the Dead comes Taiwan’s Get the Hell Out, a bonkers zombie action comedy/political satire that uses basically every trick in the book. Written and directed by I-Fan Wang, making his feature directorial debut, Get the Hell Out has everything from goofy, fourth-wall breaking sing-a-longs to cartoonish embellishments to videogame graphics to deliberately exaggerated, over-the-top performances and all of it is in service of what is essentially a locked-room zombie thriller about corrupt politicians eating each other. Subtle it is NOT.


The film opens with title card that reads: A wrong movie makes you suffer for 90 minutes. A wrong government makes you suffer for four years. It’s almost an apologia, that should you not like it, this film will be over soon, but you’re stuck with the politics and politicians it is satirizing for a lot longer. There were definitely points when I wanted Get the Hell Out to be over, but I-Fan Wang is not wrong—the movie ended a lot faster than our current political nightmare. Even though the film is set within the world of brawling Taiwanese parliamentarians, the overarching point translates (unfortunately) to many other political realities around the globe, where corruption is blatant and bickering politicians get nothing done while their constituents suffer. The way this story is told, though, probably won’t translate as well.

Our heroine is Hsiung Ying-ying (Megan Lai), a young MP intent on saving her hometown from the building of a chemical plant suspected of releasing toxins that causes “idiot rabies”. In what is probably a setup by a political rival, Hsiung is forced to resign after she is caught brawling in the lobby of the parliament building (as opposed to brawling on the parliament floor itself, which is apparently okay). She then recruits a security guard, Wang (Bruce Ho), into running for her seat and being her mouthpiece in the fight against the chemical plant. Wang, however, has a crush on Hsiung and blinded by his desire to impress her, he mistakes her aims and sells her out, siding with her corrupt rival to allow the building of the chemical plant. This is all moot relatively quickly as the president of Taiwan suddenly bites a politician on the parliament floor and suddenly literal geysers of blood are erupting everywhere. I will say this: I-Fang Wang has not met a practical blood effect he has not used yet. 


From here, Get the Hell Out becomes a free-for-all as everyone struggles to survive being trapped on the parliament floor with an ever-increasing amount of zombies. Wang’s edit, which he cut himself, is frantic, stopping only for those cartoonish embellishments that introduce new characters as they arrive and videogame-style graphics that highlight cool fight moves and a “boss fight” against a mutated rival at the end. Get the Hell Out swings between Edgar Wright and Stephen Chow, and fans of the genre will probably recognize a lot of riffs on the Hong Kong action comedies of the 1990s. It’s frenetic and hectic, but for all the tricks and gimmicks Wang throws at the audience, his action is well-choreographed and the geography of his fight sequences is easy to trace. You never lose track of where you are in the chaos.

Get the Hell Out is not saying anything the zombie genre hasn’t said before, but it has, thanks to timing, stumbled into a meta-relevance with the COVID-19 outbreak and the sheer insanity of politics around the world at the moment. The TIFF trailer even highlights this, stating that in 2019, “we made a ‘really cool’ zombie movie’”, but by 2020, everything in the movie is basically happening, minus the gushing geysers of blood (hopefully, there’s still a few months left). Fans of zombie movies should find Get the Hell Out a fun, if gimmicky, riff on the genre, but non-fans might have a harder time with it. It’s a very busy film, stuffed with slapstick humor that rubs up against the political satire and a couple of genuinely emotional subplots in ways that are disjointed and even disorienting. I-Fan Wang put a LOT on the screen here, and not all of it works. When it does work, though, Get the Hell Out is basically a live-action Looney Tune of zombie flick.