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Luke Evans sinks his teeth into his lunatic role here, but No One Lives is hardly good, clean slasher-flick fun....
Anchor Bay / 86 Minutes / 2012 / Rated R / Street Date: August 20, 2013
Not everyone survives in Ryuhei Kitamura’s No One Lives (shocker!). In what is packaged as a thinking-person’s slasher flick, this kidnap-gore bloodbath surely has a visual bravura to it, but with every new bludgeoning and violent grotesquery, one wonders what the point of the thing is. As a simple late-night horror rental, No One Lives presents some thoughtfully-designed torture and dismemberment – “Quick! Get the whole family in here!” – but we’re never given a good reason as to why these poor jerks keep getting offed.
Up-and-coming star Luke Evans plays a fellow referred to solely as “Driver” in No One Lives, and he begins our film by kidnapping a couple and holding them hostage. We learn quickly that “Driver” is not only a deep-bayou weirdo, but he’s also a serial killer on the run from the law. The couple follow along as “Driver” mutilates folks of all shapes and sizes, and we even get a hint at some Stockholm Syndrome sensibilities that suggest that this whole murderer/victim thing is more complex than it originally seems.
But here’s the thing: it isn’t. You’ll probably gasp once or twice during No One Lives, and with its wall-to-wall maniacal visual style, it’s not unthinkable that the movie might stick with you for a while (for better and for worse), but as this splatter-fest kicks into its final credits, this writer wondered what he had just sat through. Film as a medium doesn’t need to tie everything up in nice, succinct bows (it’s often better when it doesn’t), but after being pummeled through ninety minutes of thrashing bloodshed, I was disappointed to reach the end of the road only to ask: “So what?”.