No One Lives (2012) - A gang of ruthless highway killers kidnap a wealthy couple traveling cross-country only to shockingly discover that things are not what they seem.
Director: Ryûhei Kitamura
Luke Evans - Driver
Adelaide Clemens - Emma
Lee Tergesen - Hoag
Derek Magyar - Flynn
America Olivo - Tamara
Beau Knapp - Denny
Lindsey Shaw - Amber
No One Lives, the latest feature from WWE studios, comes from a director who should be familiar to most genre fans; Ryuhei Kitamura, the man behind the fantastic adaptation of Clive Barkers short story Midnight Meat Train (2008).
Don’t let the WWE brand put you off though, No One Lives is a superb watch and up there as one of the best times I’ve had watching a movie this year. I want people to go into it as spoiler free as possible, so I’ll be keeping this review short and sweet. I’ve seen a lot of reviews give away big twists and I’m glad I didn’t read them until afterwards. The unexpected events and crazy holy-shit moments may be a little far-fetched at times, but boy are they worth it and entertaining.
The story revolves around a man credited only as Driver (Luke Evans) and his girlfriend Betty (Laura Ramsey) moving cross-country when they decide to stop off at a rundown little town and stay at the local motel. Once there, while eating dinner, they run into a gang who had recently murdered a family as they returned home while being robbed. One member of this gang, Flynn (Derek Magyar – Train) is the hot-tempered type and gets into Driver’s face whilst hitting on his girlfriend. Seeing enough, Hoag (Lee Tergesen - The Collection), the leader of this pack and his crew force Flynn to leave.
Flynn won’t leave this couple alone, and after seeing the expensive BMW decides to run the couple off the road, and take what he can get from them. Lets just say he gets more than he bargained for, as Luke Evans has a particular set of skills and decides to go after some revenge. Driver tracks down the gang and takes them out one by one, in some unique ways. The man is a master hunter!
No One Lives is a nasty, bloody movie, and it was nice to see some different methods of inflicting pain used here. In particular, there is one key scene where Driver (no relation to the Gosling character, although they share some skills) does one of the most unique trojan-horse tricks ever put on film; it’s disgusting yet brilliant even if it requires a stretch of logic for it to happen.
WWE’s loyal audience will be happy with the appearance of someone called Brodus Clay in a role as the bandits muscle, and although his acting is something to be desired, he works in this role and should bring in the WWE fans regardless.
The characters are for the most part unlikable with questionable ethics giving the viewer no obvious good guys, but this should not act as a deterrent. No different to Midnight Meat Train really. Luke Evan’s character gives plenty for the audience to devour and dissect, and the occasional flashback offers up more glimpses of how messed up he is. In the wrong hands his character could have been one-dimensional and dull, but Evans knocks it out of the park and is mesmerizing to watch. More and more I’m excited to see his take on the upcoming The Crow remake/reboot.
Ambiguity in a film is quite divisive for me. Whilst I do like putting pieces together and drawing my own conclusions, sometimes a resolution is needed otherwise things can get ugly. Rarely does something like No One Lives get away with offering more questions than answers, but for me it just does. I’d love to delve deeper into the Driver character, and see more of his beginning and how he got the way he did, and started the things he does, but I liked having to make up my own story about him. I can definitely see the attraction for Kitamura taking on this story, even though as he admits himself he didn’t want to make another bloody picture.
In summary then, I’ve tried to give very little away. All you need to know is that this is a bloody, visceral, nasty little movie. With a short run time and it’s relentless pacing, No One Lives comes highly recommended. Some of the background characters and corny dialogue in places knocked the score down a little, but there are things in this movie horror fans won’t have seen before, and I hope you enjoy No One Lives as much as I did.