Stand Aside, Jason: No One Lives (2013)


Stand Aside, Jason:

No One Lives



Come on, now:  if you sit down to watch a film with a title like No One Lives, there really isn’t much point in moaning that it is one ultra-gory bloodbath from beginning to end.  I mean, seriously:  what were you expecting?

The movie takes off with that unimaginative staple: the screaming half-clad girl being pursued through the woods.  So you can be reasonably sure that you’re not in for some High Art; but none the less, this is a pretty effective, if hardly ground-breaking, slasher film with some nice stylish touches.

We get going with an unusual couple checking into a motel.  Driver (Luke Evans) and Betty (Laura Ramsey) seem to have a very odd relationship going on. Still, they try to put whatever it is on hold and head out for a nice meal.  Unfortunately they come in contact with a criminal family gang who seem to think that being tough consists of shouting very loud and swearing a lot.  And when I say that they ‘unfortunately’ come in contact with them, I mean unfortunately for the gang.  Because Driver (who neither shouts nor swears) really is a tough guy; in fact he’s an all but unstoppable serial killer who has a kidnapped heiress in the boot of his car.  A kidnapped heiress called Emma with a touch of Stockholm Syndrome, no less.  And as Emma is grabbed by the gang who seem to think that they have hit Pay Day, Adelaide Clemens’s low- key performance is a nice counter point to the screaming idiots around her.  When asked why she was the only one out of fourteen people that Driver didn’t kill, she replies:

“I think that he was trying to create me.”

I can go along with that.

The scene in the diner is tense and well played, especially as at this point we really don’t know just what Driver is about.  But, as I say, the gang are about to find out.

The screenplay is by David Lawrence Cohen, who was partly responsible for the imperishable Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning.  And this seems kind of reasonable, given that in Driver he presents us with another relentless serial killer, albeit one with some kind of philosophy this time. Given, it’s a pretty frigging weird and demented philosophy; but after Jason Voorhees I’ll take what I can get.

“It is in mendacity that we achieve our very best”, according to Driver.  I couldn’t imagine Jason coming out with that (thank God).

And yes, Jason- heads, before you get on my case:  I know that your hero wasn’t actually in Part V, but you know what I mean.  Let’s not split hairs, there are enough other body parts getting split here.

I’m not going to get into why I’m defending this film.  I don’t have to.  But I must confess that I seem to have issues, Oprah.  After all, just last week I found myself unable to watch more than forty minutes of Ricky Wood’s truly sadistic and appalling Lord of Darkness.  Why I can see absolutely nothing in a film like that and yet watch Tobe Hooper’s original Texas Chainsaw Massacre so many times is something that I’ll just have to try to work out with my psychiatrist.  My psychiatrist, Dr. Lecter.  Good guy.

Oh, and by the way:  No One Lives is educational.  Did you know that there is an actual word for self-cannibalising?  It’s ‘autosarcophagy’.  Honestly, you live and learn.

Also by the way:  there’s an enormous professional wrestler in No One Lives called Brodus Clay.  I’d love to know what was going through this guy’s head when his agent called him and said: “I’ve got a great part for you that is really going to raise your profile. “  When you get a load of what his main function in this film is, trust me, you’ll be wondering too.  And talking of Brodus Clay, I can’t help but notice that some of the cast here have great names:  Lee Tergesen, Derek Magyar…AMERICA OLIVO?  And here am I stuck with straight old Charley Brady!

Helmed by Japanese director Ryuhei Kitamura, this in absolutely no way approaches his rather excellent 2008 Clive Barker adaptation, The Midnight Meat Train.  Still, at less than an hour and a half and with buckets of blood I doubt that the average Fangoria regular reader will be overly disappointed.  And, like Jason, I think that just maybe we haven’t seen the last of Driver.




Author: Charley Brady

Share This Post On


  1. While “No One Lives” lacks the suspense of the directors “Midnight Meat Train” its certainly well worth a watch.

    I know some of the scenes in “Lord of Darkness” were gratuitous for the sake of been gratuitous Charley, but I didn’t think it was too bad, caught the spookiness of the Scottish Highlands very well, and the use of the Black Taxi for abduction purposes brought back memories of Belfast in the 70’s and the infamous Shankill Butchers, I wonder did this influence the director to use the Black Taxi?.

    And if you stuck it out till the end there was a surprising twist to proceedings.

  2. Patrick, I think that your comment on the use of the black taxi is excellent; and I must admit it eluded me.

    Now that you point it out I’m more than embarrassed to say that I completely missed it.

    I also thank you for balancing that article a little.

    After your mail I went back and watched it until the end. I have to be honest though, it just didn’t change the way I felt initially about it.

    I have a hang up about rape in films. It just disgusts me. And I thought that in this one it was even more repellent than usual.

    But again, I come back to this: I have no idea why I will support films that others find awful and yet films that you genuinely find redeeming factors in…I just don’t get.

    Yet this is why I find the whole film-making process one of the most fascinating of art forms. You’re going to like some things and I’m not.

    Some people like Tarantino and I just don’t get him most of the time.

    Some people only see a bloodbath in Peckinpah and I see beauty. I see the comedy.

    Some people find Shakespeare boring and I can’t envision a world without his plays in it.

    Some people want to sleep with the latest Page 3 girl and I want to sleep with the divine Jessica (dressed as the nun in American Horror Story) as soon as she has the the barring order revoked.

    This is what makes us human.

    Now where was I….

  3. Wasn’t it the rape scene that gave Peckinpah’s “Straw Dogs” its notoriety Charley, or was Sams depiction just a little more palatable?.

    Most serial killers have a sexual motive behind their evil deeds, these people actually exist among us.

    Dahmer, Neilson, Bundy, Chikatilo et al all done despicable inhuman acts to satisfy their sick desires.

    You can barely imagine as a normal human being the suffering their victims must have went through.
    Bundy in particular was a fascinating individual.

    Do we watch horror movies out of a sort of voyeuristic desire fascinated by the evil that some human beings can actually inflict such unbelievable torment on other human beings yet we’d never even dream or contemplate such acts of evil?.

  4. That was ONE of the things that gave ‘Straw Dogs’ its notoriety, sure. But it was hardly the only thing. Anyway, there was never as much actual bloodletting in Peckinpah’s films as people remember. It was the WAY in which he shot his movies that made people uncomfortable. I certainly don’t think that anyone could ever say that particular scene was ‘palatable’. Mind you, I do remember one fool saying that the rape scene in the remake was ‘hot’. A rape scene that was hot. I can’t even comment on that.

    Look, I don’t know the answer to why I can enjoy some very bloody films and not others. I don’t even really try to defend my tastes anymore.

    Put it this way: I saw two movies this week. One I had REALLY been looking forward to and felt a little let down by. I’ll be putting up a review in a while so won’t dwell on it. It is ‘The Conjuring’ which I had been led to expect great things of. The other was ‘Texas Chainsaw 3D’. Well, shoot me but I thought that the latter was the more purely entertaining–and in its own odd way rather moving. Now I KNOW that ‘The Conjuring’ is the ‘better’ film; and yet…

    So, like I say. No accounting for taste!

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.