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.