Blu-ray Review: Helldriver

Forget everything you thought you know about the zombie genre; you’re about to watch Helldriver!

When an alien comes down to Earth it releases an ash over Northern Japan that turns everyone it touches into flesh devouring zombies. However, these zombies can talk and function and have weird tumor-like horns sticking out of their heads. These horns are how you kill them. The alien, which looks a lot like DC Comic’s Starro, takes host on one seriously evil woman who literally steals the heart of her daughter.

Somehow her daughter survives and is implanted with a robot heart that for some reason has a chainsaw sword attached to it. She is also now fully capable of kicking serious zombie ass. So she and a few others set out to find her mom and destroy her and hopefully save Japan.

Helldiver is one the most over the top ridiculous films I’ve seen in a long time. There were several moments that reminded me of Army Of Darkness. And just when you think it can’t get any more ridiculous, it does. It also pays homage to several other films. It uses classical music in violent scenes ala Clockwork Orange and there is a line for line reference to Blade Runner (I’ll let you watch it to find out what it is).

Plot wise this film has more holes than a block of Swiss cheese, but plot isn’t really what this film is about. This film is about action gore and more action and even more gore. More blood spews from every severed limb in this than any other film I’ve seen. Sadly, it’s mostly CGI blood and not proper fake blood. That would have made the carnage all the more interesting.

One interesting thing the film does is spend a large chunk of time explaining how the remaining humans in Japan are coming to terms with the zombie invasion and how society as a whole reacts to this drastic change in their lives. In fact, it spends so much time establishing this, as well as introducing our heroine, that the opening credits don’t come until 48 minutes into the film.

Helldriver certainly isn’t for everyone. There were a few moments in the film that I felt went too far and did nothing to improve the film. It does do some amazingly original things that you surely have never seen before, but some of it you probably never wanted to see in the first place.

This film is presented in 16:9 widescreen and Japanese 5.1 HD surround with English subtitles. A lot of the effects in this film are very obvious and bad, but there’s so much of it you kind of get used to it. However ,the blu-ray transfer is very solid. All the gushing red blood that is all over the film really pops of the screen.

You get three short films that tie into the feature: Helldriver Dokata (11 min.) is the story of one of the infected that somehow survives the film. This one is funny and sad at the same time. Catch Me If You Can (11 min.) is a very bizarre story about a girl with no legs trying to survive in the world of the infected. Bailout! (19 min.) is a twisted and confusing story about a few humans trying to survive inside the walls of the infected area. Sushi Typhoon Invades Tokyo (20 min.) Sushi Typhoon is the production company that released and this is a fun look at the launch of this and three other films in Tokyo. Lots of interviews with fans cast and crew. You also get the Trailer as well as trailers for Yakuxa Weapon, Mutant Girls Squad, Karate-robo Zaborgar and Deadball.

If you’re the least bit squeamish I’d recommend steering clear of Helldriver, but if you love violence, gore and general zombie mayhem, then this film will be a fun way to spend two hours of your time. Get some like minded friends together and couple of six packs of beer, throw logic out the window and have a hell of a good time.

Well Go USA Entertainments present Helldriver. Written and Directed by Yoshihiro Nishimura. Starring: Yumiko Hara, Eihi Shiina, Kazuki Namioka and Yurei Yanagi. Running time: 116 min. Rating: R for language nudity and extreme violence and gore. Released on DVD: November 22, 2011. Available at

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