The folks at Well Go Entertainment sent out a copy of Helldriver for us to review, and if you were in the mood for a crazy slice of Japanese horror, well, you’ve got it in spades right here. Helldriver’s going to pack some truly bizarre stuff into its lineup, and your enjoyment of this one is going to depend mainly on your tolerance for weird.
Helldriver takes us out to Japan, where a mysterious mist has settled in over the northern half of Japan and animated the dead. Now with the living hiding themselves in armed camps in the southern half–where the mist hasn’t yet reached–and behind a massive wall, and the northern half now a zombie invested wasteland of lawlessness, the Japanese government has a plan to take back the north from the walking dead. And that plan revolves around Kika, a beautiful young lady with a chainsaw sword an an artificial heart. Kika’s been dispatched to take on the queen of the zombies, Rikka, but as it turns out, Kika and Rikka have a lot more history than you might expect.
I’ve seen more than a little Japanese horror, as you probably found out with last weekend’s multi-review, and generally, it falls into one of two classes: the ultra serious and extremely chatty, or the crazy and exciting rock-and-roll horror. Helldriver is much, much more the crazy kind than the chatty kind. It’s preposterous for a bunch of reasons, any of which would make a good movie by itself to explore but gives this one a kind of surrealist quality to it by trying to put all of this in at once. For instance, here, the zombies not only know how to operate chainsaws, but also have a kind of antler-shaped tumor growing out of their skulls that serves as their weak point, as well as as a kind of illicit drug that, once ground into powder, has a euphoric effect on humans.
They tried to put a whole lot of plot in this movie, give them credit, and this adds to an overall feeling of density and confusion, but that’s actually working for this movie. It’s bizarre, yes, but so are the circumstances under which it operates. The whole of Japan has gone insane, and so, it’s for the best that we don’t entirely get what’s going on.
Still, there will be plenty of action and lots of great fight scenes–not to mention a few good laughs thrown in for variety–that make this one just sparkle with wit and excitement.
The Screenhead Ten Scale in turn gives Helldriver a wild, crazy and downright nonsensical eight out of ten for making a terrific, if downright ludicrous combination of laughs and horror.