|Writers:||Yoshihiro Nishimura, Daichi Nagisa|
|Starring:||Yumiko Hara, Eihi Shiina and Kazuki Namioka|
|The Plot: A ridiculous plot to begin with, describing Helldriver is almost impossible. With that said, I will give it my best shot. Yumiko Hara plays a young woman, named Kika, who has waken from a coma only to discover a very scary new reality that is infested by zombies. Thankfully, her body has been worked on and is now a zombie-killing tool that is prepared to dispense justice. After wandering the streets, she begins to learn the ropes within this new version of society. These walking dead aren’t like your run-of-the-mill zombies, they can’t be killed via a simple gunshot to the head. Instead, they have a antler-looking system growing out of their forehead, and they only die once this is removed. As Kika wanders, she eventually finds a father/son combo who take her in as one of their own. The duo work as mercenaries for hire, but things go awry on their latest job and they are sentenced to death by the government. Yet, before they are eventually killed, the group are given the option to fight for their life and travel into the infected zone and take on the mother-zombie. If they can kill her, all of their sins are forgiven by the state and they’ll even win a cash prize! However… can they manage to escape these insanely crafty zombies?|
Nishimura and Iguchi are two directors of definite interest to any horror-movie fan with any kind of Asian cinema fascination. Both directors have a infatuation with the world of “body-horror,” something defined by the work of David Cronenberg, and this influence upon them has completely rewrote a lot of the definitions for contemporary Japanese splatter. These movies tend to be glorious in their reliance on practical FX work, but at the same time the effects rarely come across as realistic. Everything takes place in a heightened sense of reality that defies logical thought, so the lack of reality is okay for the most part, but the effects still seem to be hurt by the out-of-this-world aesthetic. Sure, there are decapitations, but some of these creatures barely resemble humans and instead start to more closely resemble paper-mache monsters. When the audience sees zombies that have distorted monster faces, as well as red skulls that stand on three foot spinal columns that extend out of their own skull, the movie begins to diverge from reality as it becomes more elaborate. The gore is about what one might expect. Cheap, fast, in large quantities, and a lot of fun. I was reminded, due to the violence and the way it is used here, of just how much films such as this one are indebted to something like Versus. A precursor to the Sushi Typhoon and American-targeted splatter flicks, that was a zombie tale that featured plenty of “cool” ideas mixed in with some extreme arterial spray and severed limbs. Helldriver is certainly a movie that gets by on its gore, but the innovative reasons for the gore are generally why these movies remain watchable.