What I Watched Last Night: No One Lives (2012)

Director:  Ryûchei Kitamura

Cast: Luke Evans, Adelaide Clemens, Lee Tergeson

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  ‘Don’t shit where I eat!’ What about slamming handcuffs through where you eat?

Movie Quibble (me) went into No One Lives completely blind, which is something of a first; no trailers had been watched, and aside from the ‘unequivocally magnificent’ endorsement from Pete Cashmore (of the highly regarded journalistic outlet Nuts) on the cover, no recommendations had been seen either – it just sounded good.

From the opening logo of WWE studios, things weren’t looking too hot, and the immediate, instinctual desire to shut it off had to be wrestled into submission. In hindsight, that primal urge to tap-out should not have gone unheeded, because No One Lives  is as ropey as they come.

In the unidentified bayou of the USA, a couple –seemingly on the run – are driving along an uninhabited highway. One of them is ‘Driver’, a tough nut (you can tell by all his squinting) played by Welshman Luke Evans and voiced with a shameful ham of an American accent – you might say it was almost…. Stat’ham’. His girlfriend doesn’t really matter, she’s taken out early, slain at the hands, or rather massive knives, of a family of backwoods bandits that take the pair hostage. This cult-like crew of low life cutthroats has grown accustomed to murdering entire households of people without repercussion, but in the Driver they have encountered their reckoning. In fact, the (welsh)man with no name turns out to be a psycho killer, hell bent on slaughtering all in his path and imbued with an uncanny resistance to any attempst against his own life. Once Driver pulls a Riddick and escapes from his cuffs with inhuman flexibility, he goes on a no holds barred killing spree.

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Villains in No One Lives, gettin’ paid and flayed.

Blood doesn’t just spill, it sprays and squelches, carrying lumps of slap-chopped, desiccated flesh on the backs of its warm crimson waves. As some incestuous punk named Denny so concisely puts it, ‘This is so seriously fucked up!’ You said it, brother. Though the violence is intense, it feels samey rather than sickening, although one of the more inventive moments will alter your view of the Trojan horse myth forever; in a skin crawling scene, Luke Evans actually crawls naked out of someone’s skin, like if Ed Gein had been a Star Wars enthusiast.

Following the reveal that the good guy is badder than the bad guys, No One Lives  ceases to retain any semblance  of coherent scripting or cinematic value. Since the Driver is indestructible, and the title explicitly states that everyone perishes, the plot takes on a Final Destination  feel; death could come at any time, but there’s no reason to it, and the humourless struggle of the hunters-turned-prey means absolutely sod all. ‘It would be nice to actually survive’, yaps one of the yobbos – You fools! Don’t you know that no one lives?

No One Lives  sounded like a fun, knowingly referential horror flick, buts it’s actually the antithesis of all that film making stands for. A cheap exploitation and a sad waste of a great movie title, this is one to avoid. 

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