November 20, 2011

Filthy Review - Helldriver

Helldriver (2010)

Review by Jude Felton

Director Yoshihiro Nishimura is definitely not playing with a full deck of cards. I don’t mean that in a derogatory way, far from it, but if you have seen any of his previous movies, such as Tokyo Gore Police or Vampire Girl vs Frankenstein Girl, you will know exactly what I mean. This is a director who puts the element of fun, albeit very twisted fun, into his films and then coats them with a copious amount of splatter. Helldriver, which was made by the Sushi Typhoon studio, is not set to break away from this trend. If anything it has amped up the outrageous action to another level.

To go too far into detail about the plot would probably take me several hours and result in a serious case of carpal tunnel. Neither of which I plan I am prepared to commit to, aside from the fact it would take away a good chunk of your enjoyment of the movie if I spoiled it for you. What I will tell you is that as a result of a meteor as mist forms above Northern half of Japan, this causes anyone without a gas mask to turn in a blood-thirsty zombie, complete with a strange little antenna.

The Japanese Government decide that these zombies are still human, so rather than exterminate them they just erect a wall that divides the country. Despite this a young school girl named Kika, who happens to have a delightful chainsaw as a weapon, is sent on a mission to the North.

I will tell you right now that Helldriver was absolutely without a shadow of a doubt batshit crazy. Nishimura even gives a short intro to the film, where he recommends watching this movie with a beer or two. I certainly wouldn’t recommend watching it with a cup of coffee as it would probably result in you going into cardiac arrest. If the movie starts off at a fairly moderate pace it soon gets upto speed and is a constant barrage of over-the-top blood (lots of blood), splatter and other crazy onscreen carnage. Helldriver is a visual rollercoaster that runs with no brakes. Am I overstating things? Good lord no.

I will mention though that you should not go into this movie expecting a highly polished gore-fest, as it is quite apparent that it was shot on what I imagine to be a fairly modest budget. To tell the truth this only adds to the movie’s immense charm, if a movie like this could be considered charming. Hell, we don’t even see the opening credits until we are 45 minutes or so into the movie!

Helldriver is, as you might expect, filled with mad-as-Hatters characters and also features Eihi Shiina who you might remember from Takeshi Miike’s Audition. You thought she was unhinged then? You haven’t seen anything yet my friends.

Some movies are meant to be taken seriously, whereas others aren’t. This film most certainly falls into the latter, it’s a fun movie that wants you to have fun with it. I will admit to not enjoying it as much as other Japanese movies of this style, I still rate The Machine Girl as my favorite, but I did like it a lot.

Helldriver is a movie that demands you hold your breath, jump on and just enjoy the ride. Logic isn’t a factor here, outrageous action is. What you can say about Helldriver, as with Nishimura’s other work is that they are original and show real imagination, and for that it must be commended.

If this style of movie doesn’t usually float your boat there is probably not too much that will change your opinion. However, fans of batshit crazy Japanese mayhem will lap this up. It is the perfect party movie to watch with your own legion of the undead.

Helldriver is available on Blu-ray/DVD combo pack through Well Go USA and is released on November 22nd.

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