I was so excited when I found out about this movie on Amazon, and I ordered it immediately as it was available, so I managed to acquire a 2-disc DVD version of it. Why was I excited you might ask? Well because it is a zombie movie, a Japanese movie and it has Eihi Shiina in it; three good things put together.
As with the recent releases of gore movies from Japan, you know what you are in for with this movie as well. And true enough, "Helldriver" is in the likes of "Tokyo Gore Police", "Meatball Machine", etc. There is an excessive amount of blood and gore from the very start till end here (so now you are warned). And also there is a lot of questionable effects, but you bear over with it because of the gore and absurdity of the whole movie. This is what Japanese gore movies is all about after all.
The story told in "Helldriver" is just as weird as the rest of the movie. Kika (played by Yumiko Hara) is abused by her mother, watching her father killed before her very eyes, and she have her heart ripped out by her mother. Then things take a turn for the extreme, yeah as if this wasn't absurd enough. Something from space strikes down the mother, and half of Japan is covered by a strange cloud, turning people into ravenous zombies. Kika is recovered by the Japanese government, "improved" and put back out to deal with the zombie invasion in the north and put the Zombie Queen to rest.
"Helldriver" has questionable acting at times, but the overall acting performance was adequate for this particular type of movie. So you come to accept the odd acting and over-dramatized situations from time to time.
I found "Helldriver" to be good enough entertainment, as I knew what to expect and had braced myself beforehand. Take this for what it is, gory entertainment that is almost as far from being realistic as it can get. This is a movie after all, meant to entertain, not meant to mirror our daily lives.
If you don't like gore movies, the extreme splatter movies that Japan have spawned in the recent years, then stay well clear of "Helldriver", because it will not be in your liking. If you are a gorehound and enjoy these over-the-top Japanese splatterfests, then sink your teeth into "Helldriver", because it is as gore-drenched as many of the previous movies of the same genre.
The only thing that was a disappointment for me was that Eihi Shiina didn't have as much time on the screen as I would have liked. But that is a matter of personal preference. And also being a huge fan of the zombie genre, I did found this whole antler-thing on the heads of the zombies to be a bit weird. But I accepted it as part of the movie, and also because it did fit well enough into the absurdity of this particular movie and genre.