Director: Ryûhei Kitamura
MPAA Rating: R
Film Pulse Score: 3.5/10
Ryûhei Kitamura made a name for himself in Japan by directing genre hits like Versus and Azumi, however after heading to the states his first English language film, Midnight Meat Train, was unimpressive. It seems to be an unfortunate trend in Hollywood that when big name Asian directors get to the States their films suffer. This happens to also be the case with Kitamura’s new film No One Lives, which proves to be a completely uninspired and uninteresting horror flick.
The premise of the film is slightly different, by focusing on a serial killer who, after he and his girlfriend get kidnapped by thugs, exacts revenge in the most brutal way he can. To complicate things more, after confiscating the killers car, the kidnappers discover a girl in the trunk. Now the group must work together before getting picked off one by one.
Unfortunately, there are not a lot of good things to say about this film other than a few funny one-liners and some half-clever spurts of violence. It mostly stays well within the realm of ridiculous and sometimes is flat out laughably bad.
The performances are weak on all fronts, however this is partly due to a script that is abysmal at best. Most of the dialogue is horrendous, however some might view it as “so bad it’s good.” I would say it’s just plain bad.
If the film’s tone was that of an over the top, fun ride, a lot of the shortcomings might be forgivable, however most of the film plays everything straight. Near the beginning of the film there’s a scene involving the killer hiding inside the corpse of WWE wrestler Brodus Clay. This was just the first of many cringe-worthy moments throughout this waste of time.
Nothing about this movie makes it worth watching. On a technical level, every clichéd horror camera shot and backdrop one can think of is used. Plenty of fog, random bright backlighting, a dark forest, a seedy motel, it’s all here and it’s all a bore.
The only thing No One Lives really has going for it are a few fun deaths and a couple jump scares. The rest is a typical horror movie that simply doesn’t deliver on anything it sets out to do. Even the title itself is misleading, however there is a moment where the killer says, “No one lives,” right before offing someone.
With a nearly endless stream of horror movies being released all the time, No One Lives does nothing to set it apart from the rest. It’s mediocre in every way and brings nothing to the table. Sure, it has some moments of mindless fun, but there are so many better offerings out there.