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No One Lives – 7

Director – Ryûhei Kitamura

Cast – Luke Evans, Adelaide Clemens, Derek Magyar, Lee Tergesen, America Olivo, Beau Knapp, Lindsey Shaw, George Murdoch, Laura Ramsey, Gary Grubbs

Release Year – 2013

Reviewed by John of the Dead

On May 10th of 2013 there were two horror films debuting theatrically – No One Lives and the Eli Roth-starring Aftershock. I have been a fan of Rhuhei Kitamura ever since he gave us the amazing zombie samurai film Versus in 2000, so I REALLY wanted to see No One Lives, but down where I am from we only received Aftershock. Now that I have finally experienced No One Lives I really wish I had seen this on the big screen instead of Aftershock, as it not only comes with awesome direction but one of the coolest stories I have seen in a long time. If you want gore, suspense, and downright brutal vengeance, No One Lives is a must-watch.

When a gang of ruthless highway killers botch a theft job and kill an entire family, they kidnap a wealthy couple traveling cross country to make up for the lost revenue. Unfortunately for the seasoned criminals, their “victims” are not quite victims after all…

I was hoping for enjoyable results with No One Lives, but I had no idea that I would absolutely love the film. First-time writer David Cohen gives us a story that includes one of my favorite storyline elements – criminals becoming the victims. It pleases me so much to see criminals looking for an easy fix, terrorizing innocents, and then finding themselves way over their heads when they meet a haunting force they were not expecting. That is the case with this experience and the horror begins from the get-go. We watch as the criminals suffer a botched job when a rogue member of their group takes it upon himself to “fix” a problem, and he only makes things worse when he kidnaps a wealthy young couple in hopes of extorting lots of money out of them. It is obvious that something is definitely aloof with this couple – they are hiding a BIG secret from us and from their captors. Thankfully, it does not take long before this secret is revealed and we learn that the man they captured is someone they should have never messed with. As the most wanted man in America, he gives us some downright brutal vengeance that consisted of incredible kills, supreme thrills, and mouth-watering scenes of the criminals desperately trying to survive the many traps he has set for them. Holed up in a home, the criminals go from hardened badasses to scared dimwits who have met their match – a man whose soul and conscience pretty much do not exist. There is a reason this killer is a “wanted” killer and not an incarcerated one – he is damn good at what he does. On top of being a brutal and twisted psychopath, he is smart, deceptive, and philosophical in his actions. This is a pretty simple story that focuses on the killer’s torment of the criminals, with emphasis on a specific character still held hostage by the criminals. It was great to see such a simple story come with an incredibly awesome killer, showing that you can give viewers a template that has been done before so long as you make the enjoyable elements…enjoyable.

On top of this awesome storyline, Rhuhei Kitamura’s direction is fantastic. From the get-go his execution brings much tension to the screen, and he attains good performances from the actors involved. Providing the tension for the criminals is Derek Magyar (Train) as “Flynn’, and selling the awesomeness to the viewer as the killer, credited as Driver, is up and coming actor Luke Evans (Bard in the upcoming Hobbit films). When the violence hits the screen Kitamura shows his knack for execution of violence (made evident by Versus and The Midnight Meat Train) and he left me with the biggest smile on my face. The kills were mean and torturous for not only the victim but the viewer as well, and Kitamura did not shy away from the live-action gore. Complimenting the kills were some downright chilling scenes involving the carcasses of the mangled criminals that literally left me with goosebumps. This happened because the subject matter was horrific and because the execution was perfect. It had been about five years since his last horror film, The Midnight Meat Train, but this Japanese phenom has shown that he not only still has the ability to deliver good bloody awesome horror, but he is throwing in the chills as well.

Overall, No One Lives is an awesome horror experience whose epic story and well-executed direction gives us brutal kills, awesome chills, and enjoyable vengeance. I highly recommend this.

Rating: 7/10

…Additional Stills…

  1. September 6, 2013 at 6:35 pm

    I watched No One Lives more than 6 times now,
    I was quite shocked when I was reading your review
    on this movie, because you liked it so much too,
    and I watched it before reading the full review,
    btw, after watching this so many times I have been looking
    for any other movie which has same story line with different
    twist or even same, but i cant find any !
    and there are two films that I ever watched which I will watch
    again and again until find another one like these,

    1. No One Lives
    2. Law Abiding Citizen

    Please let me know if you have watched any other like these.

    • October 2, 2013 at 1:56 pm

      You can check out The Aggression Scale if you want a similar film.

  2. October 13, 2013 at 8:55 pm

    thanks mate !

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