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NEW ENGLAND PREMIERE

2010, Japan, 105 min.
Director/Screenwriter: Yoshihiro Nishimura
Cast: Yumiko Hara, Elhi Shiina, Yurei Yanagi, Kazuki Namioka

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We’ve all talked about it at one point in our lives; which weapon would you wield during the zombie apocalypse? Some people say shot-gun, for the sheer firepower, while others hold tight to the machete, because it never runs out of bullets. The list goes on and on. Well, director Yoshihiro Nishimura has just cut the head off of the debate with his introduction of the chainsaw-sword. Yes, that’s correct, a fucking gas-powered sword, that is also a chainsaw.

When an outbreak in Japan turns 6 million people into a form of horned walking dead, the country is immediately divided by a wall that stretches from the Pacific Ocean to the Sea of Japan. On one side of the barrier; zombies, on the other; millions of people just waiting to die. These Nishimura zombies are unlike anything you’ve seen before. Gun shots to the head don’t bring them down. Decapitations and dismemberment just seem to make them angrier. The sweet spot on these walking worm farms is the antennae-like horn that protrudes from their foreheads; remove it and they die. This is where the chainsaw-sword swinging Kika (Yumika Hara) comes into play.

Kika has recently witnessed her father being eaten alive by her aunt Rikka (Audition’s Eihi Shiina). Rikka and her brother own and operate a snack-shack that serves human flesh to the millions of zombies that are segregated from the uninfected South by the wall. When Kika walks in on her half-eaten dad, Rikka tears Kika’s still beating heart out of her chest. A short time later, Kika is found encased in a strange cocoon, and is promptly turned into a cybernetic zombie killing machine! With the help of some new friends, Kika is on a blood-soaked path to rid Japan of zombies!

Nishimura (Tokyo Gore Police) has once again crafted an immensely bloody masterpiece with Helldriver. This man is a guru of gore, and a colonel of corn syrup. You’ll be checking yourself for stains after the lights come up. If you’re a fan of endless blood fountains (and who isn’t?) this is one you shouldn’t miss.

— Mark Anastasio