29 July 2018



This Japanese language horror film is a weird one. I found it a bit too sort of cyber-punk and a bit too stomach-turning for my own tastes in Asian fright-flicks, which run to messed-up relationship dramas and atmospheric supernatural horror, but it was still worth a one-time watch.

Plus, I liked the story behind it. The director was a young film school graduate in his mid-twenties when he made it. He's only about forty now, the wee baby, lol. This is an extremely blood-soaked film for such a young fella to make. 

He must have a really twisted imagination, which no doubt he'd take as a compliment and that's good, because it's largely intended as one. After all, that's the number one commodity you need when you're a horror director.

Neither the cast nor the crew were paid any money. Apparently, everything they did, they did out of love for the project, which is incredible. It certainly shows in the finished project that it was a labour of love. It's well-made and rather an ingenious concept, even if I didn't care for all the awful unrelenting violence myself. Or any of the characters, either...

The cast and crew did all their own advertising and publicising themselves as well. Before screenings of the movie, they walked the streets with sandwich boards handing out flyers and displaying posters and urging the public to go on in and have a butchers.' 

It sounds a lot like the way things are done today. For a young indie horror director who's not contracted to a major studio, you'd have to do pretty much everything yourself, including making the tea, cooking the books and scouring the jacks, lol.

Anyway, the film is set in some sort of dystopian future, but don't worry folks, the Japanese schoolgirls still wear the same ridiculously short skirts and those little navy-and-white sailor suit blouses that blokes seem to love, lol. If that's your thing, fear not. That's one thing that'll never change, no matter how far into the future the films go...!

The star of the film is actually a schoolgirl of sixteen or seventeen called Luchino. She is taking the titular elevator-hellevator to somewhere, presumably to school. A load of other people enter and exit the elevator while Luchino is on it. 

Her druggie schoolgirl chum is one, yakking away irritatingly on her stupid cellphone the whole time. As if everyone present cares about hearing the intimate details of her boring life...! People today are even worse.

A load of identically-dressed businessmen or salarymen also use the elevator, which is manned by a beautiful young woman dressed like an air-hostess or something. A 'cool' young guy in sunglasses, listening to music on his headphones, parks himself in a corner and interacts with no-one. A professorial-type, academic-looking chap in glasses is present here also.

There's a mum with a baby in a pram and a pair of evil-looking convicts being brought in chains to their execution (in this new world, they call it being 'disposed of') by a couple of young rookie-seeming guards.

These young guards are not enough protection for the public from these dreadful convicts. When one guard nips off to do something else, we're left with only one young guard, who's cocky all right but no match for his two criminal charges nonetheless.

The elevator gets stuck between floors after an explosion happens, an explosion caused by one of schoolgirl Luchino's discarded, illegal cigarettes. Cigarettes are strictly verboten in this slightly futuristic world. Well, that's a step in the right direction, anyway. And they can bloody well verboten vaping while they're at it.

Vaping DOES have a smell, a sickly-sweet chemical smell, that can permeate the nostrils of the people nearby- ie, me!- and it CAN cause inconvenience to others so there! Standing there vaping and pretending you're not affecting anyone but yourself doesn't wash with me, so you can put THAT in your pipe and smoke it. Harrumph.

The shaven-headed convicts, dressed in orange scrubs the colour of a Buddhist monks' robes, are a disgusting rapist-cannibal and a despicable bomber. They seize the opportunity to effect, if not an escape, then at the very least, complete and utter bloody chaos in this elevator-ride to hell. 

Proving definitively, I believe- I hope, lol- that prisoners should never, ever be transported in lifts alongside members of the public and never without sufficient security. The security here is not sufficient by a long shot.

To vastly complicate matters, two occupants of the elevator are not whom they pretend to be. One of these persons has the power to fill the world with a horrible virus. Even Luchino herself, the innocent-looking schoolie with the wrinkled white socks that just won't stay up, has a deeply troubled past and an uncanny ability to read minds. This latter talent might just come in handy when the battle for survival in the 'hellevator' kicks off in earnest...

Too violent and futuristic-looking for my personal tastes, but this young film director's done a phenomenal job of pulling off his cinematic labour of love and there's an interesting twist at the end

HELLEVATOR certainly deserves at least a one-time viewing but some of ye are bound to love it and will want to watch it more than once. Knock yourselves out, lol. I'm going back to my messed-up relationship dramas and atmospheric supernatural horror.


Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger, poet and book-and-movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:


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