No One Lives Movie Review
Written by Daniel Benson
Released by Anchor Bay UK
Directed by Ryûhei Kitamura
Written by David Cohen
2012, 86 minutes, Rated 18 (UK)
UK theatrical release on 6th September 2013
Luke Evans as Driver
Adelaide Clemens as Emma
Lee Tergesen as Hoag
Derek Magyar as Flynn
America Olivo as Tamara
Beau Knapp as Denny
Lindsey Shaw as Amber
After some minor ripples in the genre with his previous English-language feature Midnight Meat Train (2008), Ryuhei Kitamura returns with a ferocious and tightly-paced serial killer flick for Western audiences. Clocking in at a swift 86 minutes, No One Lives wastes no time in getting down to business. And what business it is.
The film begins following the separate activities of a bunch of ruthless criminals, and a couple travelling across country, escaping undetermined troubles. Almost inevitably the paths of the gang and the couple cross, and after an unpleasant car-jacking, the couple find themselves at the mercy of the undesirables. What should play out as a fairly straight kidnap and torture story takes an unexpected turn as the group comes under attack from a calculating, psychopathic serial killer intent on wiping everyone out. Spoiler: it's not called No One Lives for nothing.
Plot-wise it won't do anyone any favours to discuss in detail, as an early reveal is key to the story (and refreshingly not saved as the last-minute twist that has become de rigueur in horror cinema). There's no mystery to the killer, no mask or hood and no attempt is made to hide the identity. In some ways this makes an even more sinister foe; this killer is cold and brutal and will look you right in the eye while lowering you into a wood-chipper.
As you might expect, No One Lives is all about the kills, mixing the ingenuity of Jason Voorhees with the analytical mind of Hannibal Lecter to produce some truly wonderful dispatches. And with the bulk of the victims being the most repellent criminal scum, the audience roots for them to be offed in the most violent of ways.
For a film which could be just another by the numbers siege story, the characters are surprisingly well fleshed out. David Cohen's script gives them enough depth to be interesting, but makes them sit just on the right side of the line that never wants you to see them spared. Kitamura keeps the action and pace flowing with very little downtime and gets some great performances from lead bad-guy Hoag (Lee Tergesen, Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning) and his unruly foot soldier Flynn (Derek Magyar).
It's a refreshing change to see such relentless action and savage murder in a sub-genre that's had its fair share of predictable clunkers, and Ryuhei Kitamura has created something that will get horror fans' pulses racing and delivers the kills in a style we love. No One Lives is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser and is sure to get a big response when it debuts at Film4 Frightfest in August.
Video, Audio and Special Features:
Video, audio and special features will not be graded as this was a screener.