15 Jun 2013

'No One Lives' Review

Director: Ryuhei Kitamura
Writer: David Cohen
Stars: Luke Evans, Adelaide Clemens, Derek Magyar

A Gang of ruthless highway killers kidnap a wealthy couple travelling across country, and soon the gang realize that things are not what they seem with the couple

The last time we seen WWE Studios stuck in horror was back in 2005 when they pulled the extremely dull and generic See No Evil, which didn't go down to well with horror fans. This time around, they decided to take another stab at it, and No One Lives proves to be an improvement in nearly every aspect possible.

A group of highway killers kidnap a wealthy couple that are travelling across country, who later discover that they are not what they seem. The case with No One Lives, is the little you know about it the better, then you can actually gain a few surprises along the way that you would have already been aware of if you've watched the trailer, clips or even read the synopsis (which I just explained above...sorry). I, hadn't researched the film before watching, and judging my past experience I just assumed it was the typical revenge flick, in some way I was right, but I also couldn't have been proved more wrong. No One Lives could certainly divide audiences by whatever way they look at it, but to me, it was a refreshing slasher that was a refreshing pallet cleanser.

Surprisingly, I found this to be a really refreshing and fun slasher that had the appearance of something cliched, yet played as something different, something that isn't familiar in the horror this day and age. I liked how it plays with the cliches that had been printed into the genre, and although it doesn't turn them inside out like The Cabin in the Woods, it gleefully plays with them, changing them in a smart and slick fashion. I expected a cliche filled gore fest with dumb characters and a poor execution, but gladly I was wrong, and there is nothing I love more than when a film like this shits all over my negative expectations.

The beginning was so off-putting that it makes what happens next so brilliant, the way it plays with our expectations and completely flips it on its head, making who we initially feared, not so much a character of sympathy but a character of reason and purpose. The way it  cleverly plays back and forth from the killer to the villains, I mean the whole idea that there is no good guy is actually something quite unique, and that for once you don't look at anyone as a victim (aside from one) which means we don't actually feel bad for people dying in the gruesome way they do. Speaking of deaths, No One Lives has excellent moments that have enough chills to send quivers done your spine, and one moment in particular will certainly have you cringing to your very bone, whilst your stomach churns up your breakfast; it's that disgusting. Despite the fact that the deaths lack a little invention, they still manage to balance the fun and the gore perfectly.

One of the biggest problems I had with No One Lives was the pace, at the beginning it flows perfectly but around the middle, things start to slow down and the fun element begins to fade, but after a while its pick back up again and recovers to it's usual fun root. There was the odd moment that I found quite generic, which isn't a positive sign especially with the way the first 20 minutes of the film. The acting on the behalf of most is poor in film standards, as for horror standards its decent; aside from two or three the acting of the rest of the cast is dull and lifeless at times, and with this films nature, that's the worst possible thing it could have, bad and ineffective acting. The conclusion wasn't as exciting as I had hoped it would have been, which was a little disappointing, simply at the fact that they could have done so much more, yet it just felt like the bare minimum was done; i'm not saying it was a bad ending, but it could have been better.

VERDICT: No One Lives is a fun, smart and slick slasher that uses cliches in a playful manner and turns our perspectives upside down to create a nerving, unpredictable blood-spilled experience. And although it is sprayed in flaws as it is in blood, it safely manages to up-the-ante in the modern slasher genre, by adding in old-school material. One to watch.

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