Film review: Get Outta Here - vampire comedy as social satire
The humour in Nick Leung's feature film debut is gentle and offbeat, but the crossover into vampire lore is half-hearted
A social satire disguised as a playful horror comedy, TV director Nick Leung Kwok-ban’s feature film debut endears with its social conscience and taste of gentle, offbeat humour – but otherwise fails to leave any lasting impression with its half-hearted crossover into vampire lore.
Soon after the century-old gentleman bloodsucker Joe (Alex Lam Tak-shun) is awakened at a Hong Kong construction site, he comes across Apple (Canto-pop singer Rachel Lui Sam-yu, better known as J.Arie), a suicidal young woman who has been exploited by her boss and treated horribly by her boyfriend.
Echoing the mockumentary What We Do in the Shadows, Joe ends up living in a tong lau flat with Apple, her grandma (Anna Ng Yuen-yee) and their expat flatmate (Gregory Charles Rivers), all grass-roots characters who are finding it hard to adapt to contemporary Hong Kong life.
Although the trio can’t wait to get rid of Joe, the vampire proves his worth by fending off the thugs sent by property developers looking to force them all out. In a twist of fate, their landlord’s enforcer, Man-ying (Louis Cheung Kai-chung), turns out to be Joe’s cherished “boy attendant” from all those years ago.
Working with a socially conscious story and a relatively modest cast, Leung is at his best when he teases out the humour in the absurd scenarios the characters find themselves in, from Joe’s innocent curiosity about the new era to the flat-sharing quasi-family’s struggle with the city’s unforgiving living conditions.
But while it’s nice of producer Gordon Lam Ka-tung to bring this well-intentioned project to life, he could certainly have made it more biting. Its cogent commentary aside, Get Outta Here is so regrettably bloodless it almost makes a mockery of the vampire movie tradition it conveniently borrows from.
Get Outta Here opens on October 8