Review: No One Lives / Cert: 18 / Director: Ryuhei Kitamura / Screenplay: David Cohen / Starring: Luke Evans, Adelaide Clemens, Derek Magyar / Release Date: Sep 6th
“It's a beer and pizza movie,” said the barman, handing out beer and pizza before a screening of this WWE movie called No One Lives. One would be inclined to agree. Fast, furious and very violent, No One Lives is perhaps the perfect embodiment of a beer and pizza movie.
Travelling through backwoods America, a pretty young couple are attacked and kidnapped by a violent gang of local hillbillies. Appearances can be deceptive though, as all parties are about to discover. Enter a young blonde heiress, bound and gagged in the trunk of a car. A ruthless serial killer, who will stop at nothing to ensure that No One Lives. A desperate fight for survival. Plenty of gore. And Lee Tergesen, playing an oddly likeable gang leader.
Don't get too attached though. The most likeable characters in the movie are the first to go, picked off one by one, by this serial killer cross between Rambo and Jason Voorhees. Improvised and clever, the action is reminiscent of the Jack Ketchum novel Cover. Violent, unpredictable and nasty, No One Lives is a very old fashioned kind of horror movie. Lean, fast-paced and brutal, it's a lot of fun.
While WWE (wrestling, not pandas) don't exactly have the best track with horror or exploitation movies (See No Evil is barely memorable, The Condemned deeply unpleasant and misogynistic), No One Lives is a little more considered than their earlier efforts. Aside from a brief appearance by George Murdoch, there's barely a wrestler in the film. That doesn't stop it from laying down a few smackdowns though – including a bizarre fight between two female characters. The biggest coup the film has scored is in its acquisition of Ryuhei Kitamura as director. Having directed the massively entertaining Midnight Meat Train (one of the few decent Clive Barker adaptations, Bradly Cooper's most enjoyable movie so far and Vinnie Jones's best ever performance), Kitamura knows how to make a good beer and pizza movie. As one character emerges from within the sizeable corpse of another, you can be guaranteed a good time with No One Lives.
Provided you don't think too much about it, or sober up halfway through. It lacks the mania and the wierdness of Midnight Meat Train, the likeability of Bradley Cooper (no, he is likeable, when not playing a hungover douche) and the physicality of Vinnie Jones. Luke Evans is handsome and suave, but not scary or even sympathetic enough. Biker baddie Flynn (Magyar) is annoying, his flunkies disposable. The film tries too hard to make its villain seem “cool”, leaving us with an artificial psychopath who talks too much and a heroine who seems disconnected from it all. No One Lives is the sort of movie which ends with one of the characters quoting its title.
Does it deliver the promise of that title? You'll have to wait and see. Just make sure you come loaded with plenty of beer and pizza to make the most of the experience.
Expected Rating: 5 out of 10