Director: Yoshihiro Nishimura
Screenplay: Yoshihiro Nishimura & Daichi Nagisa
Producers: Yoshinori Chiba & Hiroyuki & Yamada
Starring: Yumiko Hara, Eihi Shiina, Kazuki Namioka & Yurei Yanagi
Year: 2010
Country: Japan
Duration: 117 mins

I was told that Helldriver would be something special. Well, it was certainly different. Think standard zombie flick crossed with martial arts and bucketsful of blood. Oh, and don’t forget to throw in a touch of Japanese mythology.

After years of torment and abuse Kika (Hara) fights back against her uber-bad, serial killer mother Rikka (Shiina), leading to a huge hole being blasted through her chest. But instead of dying Rikka tears out Kika’s heart and fuses it into the cavity. As you do.  At the same time a strange meteor shower starts and fuses Rikka in a crystal-like cocoon. Kika is also saved and when Rikka releases a ‘dust’ which infests all that breathe it into zombie-like creatures that sprout a Y-shaped horn, all Hell is released.

A secretive element of the government save Kika and set her up with an artificial heart which powers a chainsaw-sword. Just accept it and go with it, it’ll be easier. They then set her up to go after the zombies.

The Japanese government decide that the zombie-creatures are still human and instead of killing them they wall them off. After a terribly over-long period Kika eventually faces her mother and sadistic uncle wreaking her revenge.

This isn’t a good film, even by the low-bar B-move standards. It’s incredibly lengthy for the story and when the ‘opening’ credits came up 43 minutes into it, I didn’t know what was going on. Nishimura has received plaudits from his other movies and I think he was riding the wave they made – this is not his finest moment. Helldriver is poorly scripted, ham-acted and fails to keep the attention. I think that only if you’re a real, die-hard fan of stylised, Japanese martial arts/horror films will Helldriver appeal to you. Otherwise go with Tokyo Gore or Vampire Girl vs Frankenstein Girl.


Helldriver is now available on DVD.

Review by Andy Goodman

One Response

  1. David Brook

    I liked this a bit more than you did, but agree that it’s way too long. You might have seen the extended director’s cut too which wouldn’t have helped!

    As for the shoddy acting and script that’s par for the course for these types of film. This new wave of Japanese gore-comedies are all about how far they can push the insanity levels. For me there was enough madness in here to keep things fun, but it is overstretched and repetitive so gets a bit dull.


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