May 11, 2013

No One Lives (2012)

"A gang of ruthless highway killers kidnap a wealthy couple traveling cross country only to shockingly discover that things are not what they seem."

Have you ever heard of "No One Lives" before? No? Me neither. Usually when a movie has such beautifully gory set pieces, the internet goes crazy with the buzz about it, but bizarrely, not this time. Thus, we have one of the main problems with anything put out by WWE Studios: For some reason known only to them, they just aren't promoting their movies adequately. The limited theatrical release of this one is another testament to their lack of faith in their own product.

Obviously, the movie business is a bit of sideline for the masters of wrestling shows which delight small children and the poorly educated, and the days of MySpace when we were all encouraged to watch "See No Evil" starring Kane (whoever he is or was) are long since over, but the whole thing feels like a conspiracy. Every big name horror site has hated this movie and gone out of their way to tear it apart. Perhaps they weren't given enough of a financial kickback or something. That also wouldn't surprise me in the least.

Maybe the usually PG-13 friendly WWE are ashamed of "No One Lives" for being R-rated. They shouldn't be because it pretty much rocks if you overlook some of the acting, weaknesses in the script, and a few lags. The dialogue may be more than a little bit hokey, but at least it suits the tone of the rest of the movie. Let's he honest here, "No One lives" is a lot of fun in an over-the-top and mean-spirited way.

With recognisable actors such as Luke Evans and Lee Tergesen in it, I didn't even know that "No One Lives" was a WWE movie anyway although I should have realised that something was slightly amiss when a big, fat, tattooed guy showed up. Other than the fact that he's disgustingly overweight and useless at acting, I wouldn't know that he's a wrestler since I don't watch that crap. I don't know his name and never want to. Even his character is more use dead than alive, but I'll say no more about that because it's a huge spoiler.

Directed by Ryƻhei Kitamura of "The Midnight Meat Train" (2008) fame (but nothing else that I've ever seen), "No One Lives" is a difficult movie to place in the horror genre. It starts off as a crime drama about kidnapping, but then really goes into action mode due to a very physical and credible performance by Luke Evans who plays a kind of cross between Freddie Clegg and Rambo.

Although Lee Tergesen starts off well as a crime boss, he's somewhat wasted. I may not like the movie, but he was a lot better in "The Collection" (2012). Adelaide Clemens (from "Silent Hill: Revelation 3D"), on the other hand, isn't very convincing because the part is simply too big for her. Having said that, I can't actually think of anyone except Melissa George who could have done it better, and unfortunately, she's too old now.

Standouts include Derek Magyar as the evil Flynn and Lindsey Shaw as Amber ("the only one with a soul") who go above and beyond what you would expect from TV actors. America Olivo is also her usual self, but I love America Olivo and she can do no wrong. She gets her boobs out too, which is another reason why she needs to be in every horror movie from now on as far as I'm concerned.

As you would expect from a $2,900,000 budget, production values are very high throughout "No One Lives". Not only is the gore outstanding, all of the stunts are exceptionally well choreographed. Presumably that's where WWE's many years of faking fights must have been extremely useful.

Not knowing what to expect, I was impressed by how original "No One Lives" was in places, and even as a seasoned horror fan, I didn't see the twists coming. Mind you, if I live to be 100, I'll probably never see the twists coming in any thriller because I'm not wired that way.

It's not scary as such, the tension could have been handled much better, but for what it is, "No One Lives" is highly entertaining. It's not the greatest horror movie ever made, but it's well above average when compared to most of the junk available right now.

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