REVIEW: No One Lives (2012)

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2012, WWE Studios/Pathe Entertainment

Director:
Ryuhei Kitamura
Producers:
Harry Knapp
Kami Naghdi
Writer:
David Lawrence Cohen
Cinematography:
Daniel Pearl
Editing:
Toby Yates

Cast:
Luke Evans (Driver)
Adelaide Clemens (Emma)
Lee Tergesen (Hoag)
Derek Magyar (Flynn)
America Olivo (Tamara)
Beau Knapp (Denny)
Lindsey Shaw (Amber)
Laura Ramsay (Betty)
George “Brodus Clay” Murdoch (Ethan)
Gary Grubbs (Harris)

From the director of Versus and The Midnight Meat Train comes this shockingly action-revenge film with a major twist that drives the film into chaos.

A couple on the road is just enjoying their trip when a pitstop leads to a run-in with a group of robbers, led by the level-headed Hoag. Hoag’s daughter Amber works at the local bar as a waitress, where she is serving this couple. The hot-headed member of the group, Flynn, confronts the man and gets to a point where Hoag must stop and apologize for Flynn’s actions. As the couple leaves, the robbers assume they are a rich upscale couple and they decide to kidnap them.

They soon discover they are about to have made the biggest mistake of their lives. When big member Ethan is asked to keep watch while the rest of the gang take the couple’s car, Betty, the woman of the couple, has herself killed when Ethan threatens to cut her throat. Unhinged, the driver gets out of his handcuffs and kills Ethan. The robbers learn that the trailer in the back of the couple’s car reveals to have a young woman named Emma. Emma had been missing from a college graduation party and her friends were all killed. The Driver soon hatches a deadly plan to make sure the robbers pay for what they had done and makes sure he still has Emma captive.

This is one definitely underrated thriller from the mind of writer David Lawrence Cohen, who takes a typical revenge film and adds the twist that let’s face it, there are no real good guys in this film, except maybe Betty, played by Laura Ramsay. Luke Evans is an interesting actor and the actor best known for his villain turn in Fast and Furious 6, truly shines as Driver, who seems normal at first, but soon reveals his true colors and is actually a cold-blooded survivalist. When two of the robbers discover their comrade is dead and take him back to their cabin, this leads to one of the most awesome and disturbing scenes that shows Driver’s plan to go after his “captors”. This is so effective that it has be seen to be believed.

Interestingly enough, for the first portion of the film, the gang leader character of Hoag, played by Lee Tergesen, seems to be a more sympathetic character until he learns of the death of one of his boys. Then, he goes into a tirade. While Denny, played by Beau Flynn, attempts to get accepted by the gang, it is Flynn himself whose hot-headedness drives the driver to unleash his psychotic fury. This is one character from his very first introduction that one cannot wait for him to get his.

Kitamura pulls no stops with the level of violence in the film. In the behind-the-scenes featurette of the film, he summed it up in one word: blood. And there is plenty of the crimson in the film. From a shootout to some pretty inventive death scenes and the mid-way “piece de resistance” of the film (again, this was the most shocking scene of the film), the level of violence is truly kicked up a few notches with one particular scene in which Evans becomes a survivalist of sorts setting up booby traps to trap his victims.

No One Lives is truly an underrated revenge theme with a driven twist that only makes it good thanks to the performance of lead actor Luke Evans. Horror film fans may truly want to check this out. Others, who are squeamish or faint of heart, might want to step back.

WFG RATING: B+

DVD

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