Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

The original title of this film is Gusher No Binds.  The director, 23-year-old Hiroki Yamaguchi, said the meaning of this was something like Fools in a box, or something.  By the time Gusher No Binds made it to the U.S of A, it was renamed Hellevator.  Now what self respecting American is going to rent a movie called Gusher No Binds.  Not this one.  But call it Hellevator?  I d be fool to at least not check it out.

 

Sometime in future Japan, there is a totalitarian society that exists in what looks to be a huge housing project.  Transport in this place is handled by a myriad of elevators connecting the 140 or so levels.  A somewhat troubled girl with limited psychic abilities named Luchino steps on an elevator on her way to school, and is joined by an eclectic crew that includes a College professor guarding his briefcase, A strange mother with a baby carriage, an ultra cool boy who wear shades and listens to music, and the near robotic elevator operator.  As the elevator ascends, different types of people get on and off including two prisoners... a rapist, a mad bomber and their guard.  Soon the prisoners break free and then all Hell breaks loose in the elevator.  Uh, hellevator. Or whatever. 

About 25 minutes in, this one was about to get shut off.  It started of like nonsense haiku, and then turned into a long elevator ride.  And that was it.  Im thinking is this whole movie about a girl riding up an elevator?  How cutting edge!  How avant

garde!  How incredibly stupid and boring.  Im shutting this garbage off.  But by the time the prisoners step on the elevator, and the blood starts to flow, Hellevator starts to get interesting and, dare I say it, even becomes good. 

 

The escaped prisoners raise the tension level of the film, but more importantly bring out the character of Luchino (Luchino Fujisaki).  At first some of her mental difficulties are merely hinted at, but as the situation in the elevator gets worse and worse, its beginning to look as though shes might be crazier than anybody in the elevator.  Blood licking rapist included.  Through Luchinos psychic abilities were able to learn about the other passengers on the elevator, who all have serious issues.  But the more we learn about Luchino, one begins to wonder if her visions are real or if they are simply twisted in her mind.  All of these images and tales are tightly woven and prove to be intensely captivating. 

 

Shot on digital video on a shoes-string budget, Yamaguchi shows more imagination and cleverness than many of those with a helluva lot more resources and a bigger budget.  If you can survive the first twenty-five or so minutes, and believe me it wont be easy,  Hellevator might just provide you a bloody good time.

 

 

 

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