Psycho Against Psycho: No One Lives (2012)


Released in 2012, Ryuhei Kitamura’s No One Lives is an action horror film pitting criminal psycho against criminal psycho. Is it any good?

[SPOILER ALERT: Yes, I reveal some details of the story.  It’s a fair warning!]

Who doesn’t like a good fight? Well, okay, some people don’t…but No One Lives wasn’t made for them. Then again, maybe it wasn’t made for enough people. It only earned $74,918 box office, but cost about $2,900,000. Ouch! Still, a box office flop isn’t necessarily a bad movie, right?

Indeed, there are some things I like about the movie (for example, see my quotes list below). I actually think some performances are decent. Luke Evans is decent at being indecent, playing the protagonist-turned-villain character, The Driver. Also, I thought Derek Magyar did an even better job as Flynn, a sadistic gang member and one of The Driver’s newfound rivals. Oddly enough, he sort of becomes a “good guy” character — simply by not being as sadistic as the worse guy.

Derek Magyar and George Murdoch (No One Lives, Anchor Bay)

More from Horror Movies

At first, Flynn just seems like a stock character. However, as he battles to save his life and escape the psychopathic Driver, Flynn ends up seeming macho for a reason. You get the sense of someone who’s been abused, and who expects new shocks around every corner. Why wouldn’t he become a criminal? It’s what he was socialized into. Sure, he is abusive and violent himself, but one can understand his need to feel superior and inflict fear.

Yes, this story’s about a gang going up against the ultimate sadistic badass. When Flynn has The Driver and a woman named Betty (Laura Ramsey) kidnapped, the expectation is that they’ll be the victims. One might think, “Well, okay, looks like this movie will be about this couple trying to escape this gas station, and this gang.” However, the tables turn very rapidly, and The Driver ends up being the real threat. Pretty early on, “No One Lives” becomes about killing, blood and guts. If you categorically don’t like that, then you won’t like No One Lives.

The Girl in the Trunk

Stored in the trunk of The Driver’s vehicle is Emma Ward (Adelaide Clemens), an heiress of some sort, and lone survivor of one of his slaughter campaigns. Quite simply, her main role is “survivor girl.” However, it’s refreshing that Flynn joins her as sort of a “survivor guy.” The two have little in common, other than their common enemy, and seeing a bunch of death around them.

While nothing about Emma is particularly memorable, it’s almost like real life. Whenever there’s a massacre, who do you most remember — the victim or the perpetrator? Sure, we might remember harrowing tales of survivors of psychopaths (and see them as heroes), but they’ll never rise above the infamy of their attackers. (Sorry, folks! I don’t make the rules!)

The Other Stars

Other No One Lives menu items? You have Lee Tergesen as Hoag, America Olivo as Tamara, Beau Knapp as Denny, Lindsey Shaw as Amber, Brodus Clay as Ethan, Laura Ramsey as Betty, Gary Grubbs as Harris, Dalton E. Gray as “son.”

Mmeorable Quotes from The Driver

The Driver takes a dip to refresh and replenish. (No One Lives, Anchor Bay)

No One Lives has a few memorable quotes from The Driver, actually. For example, Emma says, “You must be out of your mind,” to which the driver responds, “I’m very much in my mind.” It’s simple yet effective writing, and might cause a smirk or a chuckle.

At one point, The Driver says, “I don’t lack emotion. I just process it differently,” and confesses, “I would change if I could, but I can’t. I just can’t.” There’s a little bit of nuance to this, and it’s apparently true that psychopaths rarely (if ever) change.

When Amber asks him, “Why are you doing this?,” he replies, “It keeps me fit.” That may just be the best line of the movie, and I don’t recall hearing or reading it anywhere else. There are other decent lines, but you get the idea, I’m sure.

The Verdict

No One Lives lives up to its title. By the end, you expect no one to survive the killer’s wrath. While it’s not the best made horror film, what do you expect? It’s a WWE movie, for crying out loud! Do you expect a pro wrestling company to make the greatest film of all time?

That being said, this film could have been better by any reasonable standard. Even if your plot mostly centers on violence and gore, there’s always still room for other stuff. Still, you know what you’re in for here. It’s an okay watch and may keep one’s attention. It’s just not unique enough for me to say, “Wow! This is something entirely different! Oh my gawd!”

Next. Rotten Picks: The spoiled apples of horror franchises. dark

What are your thoughts? Is No One Lives worthwhile? Let us know in the comments!