Never has a movie made me so mentally exhausted. Helldriver is an overload of insanity that invades all of your senses and doesn’t let up for two hours. This is both good and bad. For awhile, the insanity is enjoyable and a laugh riot, but after a while it made me tired and I really just needed a break between scenes just to comprehend what I just saw. I knew going into this movie that it would be nuts, but I got way more than I bargained for.
After a cosmic cloud of ash blankets half of Japan, multiple reports of zombie hordes take the media by storm until it becomes too much to really control. The infected half of Japan is blocked by a huge wall, and the Prime Minister is fighting to allow zombies basic human rights. Amongst all of the insanity, a small group of “criminals”, led by Kika (Yumiko Hara) and her chainsaw sword, enter into the other side of the wall to find and kill the zombie queen (Eihi Shiina), who just so happens to be Kika’s sadistic mother.
This is a zombie movie unlike any I’ve seen before. These aren’t your typical zombies who just lumber (or run, in some cases) down the road without a clue as to what’s going on. These zombies are pretty intelligent and are killed when the tumor stemming from their heads are destroyed. Oh, and not only that, but people use these tumors as illicit drugs and they also are very flammable. I dare you to name another movie that has anything like that! I’m sure one might exist, but certainly not to my knowledge.
This film is directed by Yoshihiro Nishimura, whose other films include the wonderful Tokyo Gore Police and Machine Girl, a review for another day. These movies are crazy, over the top splatter films that enjoy how ridiculous they are and bask in their own insane glory. I respect that. Watching how crazy these movies get is so much fun. This one… this one takes the cake. It’s a two hour barrage of crazy editing, out of this world and long action sequences sprayed with gallons and gallons and gallons of blood in every frame. I loved the scenes of dialogue, not because they were very good or interesting, but because I needed a break. My mind could not compute everything that was happening.
This sort of spoils the movie in a way. Every movie, no matter how crazy, needs to have some down time. Even though I was tired after watching this movie, I need to be able to appreciate some of the things that I saw. Every Nishimura has something you never thought you would ever see, kind of like a car made out of pieces of zombies that is used in a prolonged chase scene featuring some of the most laughable CGI I’ve ever seen. This scene in particular wore me out and hurt my eyes.
I was completely shocked by the audacity of Helldriver. Japanese splatter movies are a guilty pleasure of mine, and this one is certainly no exception. Is this as good as Tokyo Gore Police? No way. That one reigns supreme, but this Helldriver pushed this genre farther than I have seen yet, and for that I enjoyed it. Just be prepared to feel exhausted from the relentless violence, blood, and ridiculousness. I can’t say that you should definitely check this one out, but if you’re at all interested in the genre than this is an insane trip.