Helldriver (Nihon bundan: Heru doraibâ) Review

Movie: Helldriver (Nihon bundan: Heru doraibâ)
By: TonyPulp
Date: April 14, 2012

A joy ride

Blood squirting nipples. There, that's out of the way. Now you should be well aware of what director and visual mastermind "Yoshihiro Nishimura" is all about. Most of you will know him for the instant cult splatter classic "Tokyo Gore Police", but I'll be looking back at his work thinking... damn, Helldriver was top notch. The absolute highlight in his career thus far. This will result in a fan-review, more than anything else. Representative for true fans of his work, not so much informative for outsiders. Then again... this isn't meant for outsiders. Not. At. All.

This cannibalistic zombie mutant future Tokyo story introduces us to a new leading lady called "Yumiko Hara'' who will be playing Kika, our main character. A new and therefore inexperienced actress to play a difficult part. Fans will be used to seeing (porn) star "Asami" kicking major ass which makes it feel a bit strange at first. Eihi Shiina would've been a perfect fit as well. No need for these preconceived opinions, though. Yumiko Hara delivers.


There's a lot going on in Tokyo when Kicka, as a teen kid, is running from her cannibalistic and psychotic mum and uncle. Without success when she finds them eating her father's legs. 'Luckily' they are interrupted by a meteorite which takes out the entire heart-area from the mother. She steals Kika's still beating heart, causing a bizarre sort of 'dust' to burst from the mother's mouth ultimately leading to a zombie outbreak. A whole bunch of illogical bullshit forming the base of an even more extraordinary movie than anyone could ever imagine.


Asian directors know little about zombies, which is even mentioned briefly in the extra's. Nishimura is definitely not one to add to the list of misunderstood eastern interpretations of a typical western horror subgenre. If you're following Nishimura on a lose foot, you might think you've seen it all by now. His work can be found in almost every splatter-ish like Japanese film of the last 5-6 years and his personal touch is always a positive one. A man with no boundaries and a limitless list of ideas for his next project. That's rare!


I already mentioned the blood squirting nipples. Let's just call that the tip of the iceberg. A bombardment of exploding zombie heads, a giant build of a thousand tiny zombies flying around with two giant missiles, a katana impaled monster fighting with a car.. Dafuq is going on? You'll have no idea. Even though the film is two hours long you will have no time to stop and wonder. The first hour will provide you with an interesting image of a neglected and torn apart Tokyo, explaining the situation amongst the civilians and of course the political situation concerning the wall which is keeping the zombies separate.


The extra's on the Dutch release include an amazing making-of, providing us viewers with some interesting behind the scenes footage and intriguing comments from the cast and a couple of cool cameo appearances. With only 15 days to shoot the entire thing, with an incredible amount of scenes and not to mention cuts... this was by far his most ambitious project. Especially the last hour is full of the most insane stuff you'll come across nowadays with a never ending fountain of blood (some days wasted over 40L of blood).


This is Nishimura's "magnum opus", a dream project for his true fanbase. A colorful, 100% Japanese splatter fest like no other. It will make Peter Jackson piss his pants and have you begging for more. Alright, I obviously admire the guy and consider myself a huge fan, but it truly is one of the most eye catching projects that cinema has to offer. A great big pile of hilarious, original shit.



Image quality

No surprises to be found here. The quality is solid. More than solid, even. De FilmFreak delivers what you have come to expect from them.


The cheesy soundtrack comes across flawlessly. Not a single bad spot was found by me as an audio-freak.


As mentioned before, there's a 40 minute long making of/behind the scene documentary on the disc. A must see, whether you enjoyed the movie or not. It's an enrichment to the overall experience.


The overall experience is a proper one. Both sound and image quality is like it's supposed to be and the film itself deserves that and more. The extra's make this release a must have for every horror fan with a weak spot for groundbreaking gore and insane originality.



Helldriver (Nihon bundan: Heru doraibâ)


Helldriver (Nihon bundan: Heru doraibâ)


Yoshihiro Nishimura






Yumiko Hara, Eihi Shiina and Kazuki Namioka