WARNING: THIS BLOG CONTAINS BODYCOUNT. HIGH RISK OF SPOILERS. ENTER IF YOU DARE.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Maniacal Mechanic's Manic Massacre: No One Lives (2013)

No One Lives (2013)
rating: *1/2
starring: Luke Evans, Adelaide Clemens, Derek Magyar                         

This is probably going to be one of those film where I can't decide whether I love it or not; the 2013 released slasher film No One Lives, directed by Ryuhei Kitamura of the Midnight Meat Train  and Versus fame, actually sets our expectation with promises of a cool kill-a-thon by a guy with fancy gadgets, but it ultimately became a let down for me by the time I get to see it and find out there's barely anything memorable about this film.

We begin with a classic set-up: a blonde running in terror at night from unseen foe only to be captured by whatever's hunting her down and not killed for a change. We then suddenly shift to daylight as we follow a couple on a road trip presumably to patch-up a broken relationship and a gang of house thieves with a member who's cray-cray about killing, demonstrating this soon enough by gunning down an entire family who owns a house they're currently raiding. The couple and the thieves cross paths later at a local diner, soon resulting with the gang harassing and kidnapping the couple.

25 minutes, where all good things stayed and just stayed
Now as the film's trailer suggested, these couple aren't what they seem to be, more precisely the guy Luke Evans plays here who is simply credited as "Driver", as the thieves discover a captive girl inside his car and he turns out to be a serial killer armed to the teeth. Things further take an interesting turn for the thugs when they find out a million worth of reward money for the captive girl's whereabouts, but with the Driver out there with plans of eliminating everyone who stands in his way, surviving this bloody night is getting harder by the minute.

For a film that revealed the twist way before the film even gets released (through the trailer and Mr. Kitamura's interview), you would expect the production to at least worked out better on other departments that'll makes this slasher film fun such as gore, script and atmosphere, but none of these apparently crossed their minds. It's quickly paced around the first act, but after the twist is revealed and the MIA blondie begins rambling on what our slasher can do, No One Lives starts to lag from one part to the next so evenly that you have to wonder where this film was really going, or really understand anything at all since a lot of the characters seem to have a thing for speaking in whispers. A lot of characters.

Furthermore, I don't really understand how a couple of bad guys work as effective target victims? The way I see it, it could only work in two ways: they could either be the biggest sonovabitches deserving their fates (like the ones in Tormented, where bullies get killed), or develop into those who are willing to side with the victims, settle their differences and just try to live through the night. (Like the ones from Scarecrows (1988), which were originally armed thugs but slowly began to look out for their hostage once the supernatural scarecrows attack) The victim set here are house thieves with one trigger-happy douche that everyone seems to hate but kept around coz only he has the teeth to fire a gun willy-nilly or some shit like that; they're not that threatening or developed so more or less they're merely victims, just like the rest of the meat these kind of films have been cutting up for years now.

In a slasher film, victims usually die by the time a blade hits them.
Here, they can still talk for minutes. As if the film isn't slow enough.
The killer, while indeed has his badass moments with his impressive hand-to-hand combat skills and the fancy toys that would make even a one of Jigsaw's apprentice from the SAW series jealous, is still kinda underwhelming since his gimmick isn't entirely fresh: aside from SAW, we also have The Collector and its sequel doing the gadget-killing a work, and too the acclaimed "Home Alone for Horror Fans" The Agression Scale. Even if it's still in the hype, No One Lives' kills aren't gonna match-up with the murders the other Saw rip-offs were doing either if the killer committing them is a smug crossover between Jason Voorhees and Jigsaw with little or no interesting characterization, save for the million philosophical spattings of why he is different from common criminals. I will admit, though, that the murders were at least splashing enough red stuff to keep the gorehounds seated on their seats, even it really feels like as if these guys are holding back on the grue. I could try to be that shallow but sometimes I really need more than blood and guts to make a movie work. Even if its a slasher film.

No One Lives certainly lacks a real fire power to make itself that worthy of a watch, but I ain't stopping you guys from seeing it. As I mentioned, if blood and flesh shredding and splattering are your thing, then this film at least provides. But lemme just go ahead and say you would probably forget about this film after a day or two...

Bodycount:
3 males and 1 female shot dead
1 female cuts her own throat against a held hunting knife
1 male hooked through the jaw with broken handcuff, stabbed and disemboweled with hunting knife
1 female seen stabbed to death (TV)
1 male seen with throat cut (TV)
1 female seen dead (TV)
1 female seen with her back flayed open (TV)
1 male seen disemboweled (TV)
1 male seen stabbed to death
8 victims mentioned killed (TV)
1 male shredded through tree de-barker
1 female gets a sickle thrown through her back, hit by a car
1 male shot on the eye
1 female strangled, shot on the head
1 male had his head shot off with shotgun
1 male shot with shotgun
1 male had his neck chopped with clipboard
total: 27

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