Reviewed by Patrick Cooper
No One Lives, the new film from Midnight Meat Train director Ryuhei Kitamura, is a seek-and-destroy formula slasher film that boasts joyously brutal kills and gallons of blood. Unfortunately, it’s crippled by piss-poor dialogue and a lineup of painfully uninteresting characters. Even the enigmatic, efficient killer is a puddle of banality.
Capable actor Luke Evans (The Raven) plays “Driver.” He’s moving across the country with a girl (Adelaide Clemons) in the passenger seat and a trailer hitched to his car. His merry journey is interrupted by a gang of thieves who force Driver and the girl off the road, into a trap. When the gang, led by talented character actor Lee Tergeson (Oz, Silver Tongues), finds a bound and gagged girl in Driver’s trailer, along with an arsenal of high-tech weaponry, they realize they’ve just opened a can of 100% pure whoop-ass (that was a Stone Cold Steve Austin reference, which is appropriate because the film is a WWE production).
The one thing the film does very well is setting up big and bloody kills, which there are plenty of. Driver systematically kills off everyone in the gang in elaborate, crafty ways. Stylistically Kitamura does violence very well. He has a good sense of when to hold back the graphic gore and when to spray it all over your face. So in this regard No One Lives will be a genre crowd-pleaser. I’m not wicked into gore, but I did really dig one bit where Driver needs to quickly find a hiding spot.
The entire cast – particularly Luke Evans and Lee Tergeson – do their best to breath some life into the hideously flat dialogue and soulless characters, but all the talent in SAG couldn’t save this script. However, the madcap violence combined with the excruciating dialogue may help No One Lives find life in the “so bad it’s good” category people love to throw around these days. Genre fans will want to go see this one surrounded by friends and possibly alcohol.
But other than a few laughs, there’s really nothing to take away from such a stupid movie. It’s poorly written garbage that also manages to insult its audience by assuming we’ll put out for anything that’s graphically violent. The best suggestion I can give is to see it once with your friends only if there’s nothing better available (which would be just about anything).
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