No One Lives

Dir: Ryuhei Kitamura
Star: Luke Evans, Adelaide Clemens, Derek Magyar, Lee Tergesen

A couple are moving home, taking their possessions in a trailer behind a car. Spending the night in a rural town, they dine at a local restaurant, only to bump into a gang of psychos led by Hoag (Tergesen), who have just killed an entirely family off during a robbery. It looks like they have now found their next target, and take the couple captive, but when looting the trailer they discover something very odd: a bound and gagged young woman (Clemens), hidden behind a panel. She turns out to be a heiress, who vanished months previously, and for whom there is a $2 million reward. However, more concerningly, the night she disappeared, 14 of her college friends were slaughtered: and it rapidly becomes clear that the man now being held (Evans) prisoner, doesn't exactly take kindly to having his self-imposed "mission" interrupted. When he escapes, the tables are quickly turned, and the hunters become the hunted.

We like Kitamura's work, and this makes for a decent 80 minutes, offering viewers a couple of nice twists on the "home invasion" genre which has become popular over the past couple of years: there isn't really a "home" as such, and the invaders are far more in peril than the victims. Beyond that, it reminds of The Hitcher, in that the killer has some interestingly-twisted reasoning as a justification for his actions, together with the lack of significant backstory for his existence. However, that (at least, the original) had several advantages. Firstly, the victim there was a lot more sympathetic: here, you are absolutely compelled to side with the killer. Secondly, the one-on-one battle makes for more intense and personal experiewnce than a stalk 'n' slash approach. Finally, and most crucially, Rutger Hauer >>>>> Luke Evans. The latter doesn't bring sufficient depth to his character to make this any more than a meaningless thrill, with some decent and copious gore. Clemens, as the victim and the only one with a clue as to the future, does rather better. While it's still probably among the best of WWE Films products, that will be taken with the appropriate grain of salt by anyone familiar with the rest of their output.

[August 2013]

No one is innocent
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