-Contributed by Luke Merrill
No One Lives, another title that is still under the new releases at the local video stores is the second movie that was picked for screening at Horror Camp. Heralded as being directed by Ryûhei Kitamura, known for Midnight MeatTrain and Versus amongst other movies, I was excited to see what No One Lives has to offer.
No One Lives opens up with some classic horror footage of a scantily clad girl running for her life through the woods. Unlike most horror flicks this girl shows some sensibility, as she tries to keep her screaming to a minimum and masterfully unhinges herself from various snares and traps in her path. But ultimately, as she’s about to make it to the highway, her means of escape back to civilization, she gets snared up into a tree. The credits roll and we shelve this scene for later within the film.
Only the Gingerbread Girl can outrun the crazies!
We then flash to a man and woman stopping off during their road trip cross country. The man is played by Luke Evans, who has had much success in the past couple of years playing roles in movies such as The Clash of the Titans and The Immortals. The couple eats and makes small talk about some issues they have about their relationship. The woman hints about there being another woman, but they resolve these issues and continue on their journey. The third cast of characters are introduced, a group of gang members scoring small time heists as they rob from the rich led by LeeTergesen, most popularly known as being a lead character in the HBO prison drama OZ.
At one point, one of the hothead bandits come across the couple and proceeds to hijack their car and hold the couple prisoner. In an effort to obtain Bank info and PIN numbers they kill off the man’s travelling companion. But back at the bandit’s home they encounter a surprise. Located in the trunk of the car is the girl from the opening credits. As is quickly revealed in the movie’s surprising turn of events, this particular man is not just some unlucky traveler. He is, in actuality, a highly trained and methodical psychopath, who is now hell bent on getting vengeance on losing his lover, and will stop at nothing to get the woman he has been holding captive back.
Life would be easier if everyone had nametags.
From here on the movie, although entertaining starts to be a little predictable, at least from the standpoint that Luke Evans will now mercilessly hunt down this band of jokers with surgical precision. The gang of roving bandits wasn’t exactly portrayed as being particularly threatening or menacing, so there really isn’t anyone in particular Evans can’t make short work of. Evans is enjoyable to watch, he’s cold, contemplative, and extremely physical when the need arises. Watching him perform his pursuit speed, when giving chase to one of his potential victims, and slithering through impossibly small windows and vents was a spectacle to behold, He had me convinced of the old adage that lunatics have the strength and speed of 10 ordinary men.
The more I reflect on it the more I like the film, but the only grievance I have is that Evans is just a little too likable. We (the audience) end up rooting for the psychotic killer to kill everyone in the movie. This is alright, seeing as he’s killing murderers and thieves, but towards the finale of the movie he actually does some pretty humanizing stuff, that has the audience saying, “Well he’s not such a bad guy after all” This kind of psycho-friendly behavior, that’s seen in shows like Dexter, glorify and humanize serial killers. It’s kind of fun to be in the audience and share this “I’m an insane psycho killer” secret with the protagonist, but I’d prefer if the films depicted these men as the reptilian killers they truly are. I mean, its fantasy so it’s ok to have fun with it, but never discount that these are seriously dangerous individuals.
So on the whole No One Lives, is an overall alright experience if you like chest-bumping tough guys getting served their comeuppance. Evans’s portrayal was top-notch, but I still prefer psychopath movies like Natural Born Killers or American Psycho, on account it more accurately portrays the killers as NOT human. Come back tomorrow for the last in the series of extended holiday reviews as we cover Elijah Wood in “Maniac” . Yes, Another Psychopath Movie, possibly without some of the pitfalls I saw in this film. Until Then, Sleep Tight and don’t be late for your day jobs, I ‘ve got all my clocks rolled back here. Your Head Counselor signing off.
Tags: Movie Night at the Rec Hall, Serial Killers, Horror Camp, No One Lives