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Review: No One Lives (Directed by Ryuhei Kitamura) (Tiff 2012)

Sep. 12, 2012by: Chris Bumbray


PLOT: A vicious gang of home invaders kidnap a motorist (Luke Evans), only to have the tables turned on them by their victim, who quickly reveals himself to an even more vicious killer, with one motto: no one lives.

REVIEW: Ryuhei Kitamura's NO ONE LIVES seems like WWE Films' (who produced) attempt at a big horror franchise- but the thought of another NO ONE LIVES is one of the more painful film prospects I've considered in awhile. I love a good horror film, but all too often the genre shoots for the lowest common-denominator, and NO ONE LIVES is certainly of that class, jampacked with atrocious dialogue, line-readings that come off like botched takes, and decrepit pacing that makes this film, which barely runs eighty minutes, seem endless.

 

It's a real shame, as the premise is promising. The idea of an enigmatic killer, with the skill set of an action hero, the looks of a leading man, and the personality of the killer from SAW is intriguing, but again and again, NO ONE LIVES drops the ball. Luke Evans, who's proven himself to be a pretty exciting leading man in the past, tries his best to make the character work, but he's let down by the incredibly amateurish script, and schlocky directing (a surprise, as Kitmura's VERSUS is great).

The WWE trademarks are all here, with no opportunity for gratuitous gore or hilariously random T&A (with one character spending about ten minutes of screen-time in what has to be filmdom's longest ever shower) being passed up. The gorehounds may appreciate some of the splatter, with one character meeting a creative end in a meat grinder, but even that isn't really anything that hasn't already been done, better, by other horror flicks.

Outside of Evans, who tries, the acting in uniformly awful. Adelaide Clemens makes for a pretty bland heroine (not that she's done any favours by the script), and the gang of criminals never goes beyond the stock charaters typical of the genre (there's the hot girl, the asshole, the young guy, etc). Even Lee Tergesen, who used to be amazing on the late, great OZ, isn't able to do anything with his wafer-thin role.

 

Unless you have really low standards when it comes to horror, or you simply crave anything “hardcore”, NO ONE LIVES is a pretty tepid example of the genre that is best avoided. To me, this is DTV-quality schlock- although then again, considering the state of the genre I wouldn't be surprised if this got picked up anyways.

 

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