TIFF 2012: NO ONE LIVES Review

     September 13, 2012


Ryûhei Kitamura‘s No One Lives is trying so hard to be cool, it hurts.  It is a complete and utter wreck of a screenplay that sounds like it was written by an idiotic 16-year-old boy.  The acting is abysmal, and only made worse by the fact that there are real actors put side-by-side with amateur ones.  Kitamura’s earlier film, Versus, wasn’t a great, but it at least showed some kinetic energy.  However, that kind of slick movement, or any personality beyond a generic slasher, is completely absent from his new movie.  All it has to offer is gruesome kills, and not even particularly inventive ones at that.  But hey, the protagonist is a violent psychopath in a black trench coat, so I guess that means this movie has a personality.  It’s just a personality no one wants to be around.

No One Lives gets off on a rough start from the get go as it sets up three mysteries rather than simply trying to establish setting and character.  The opening scene shows a girl running in the woods from an unseen pursuer.  After she falls into a snare trap, we move to a completely unrelated scene of an unnamed man (Luke Evans) and his girlfriend Betty (Laura Ramsey) happily traveling along to an unknown destination.  We also discover that Betty has a mysterious scar on her waist.  Then we move to another unrelated scene of a gang robbing a upper-class home, and the heist going horribly awry when the house’s family comes home early.


David Cohen‘s wretched excuse for a script wants to set up a collision course between the plot lines, but it feels tedious and only becomes more so when the gang, with its de facto leader/BAD GUY Flynn (Derek Magyar), decides to kidnap the nameless man and Betty, and torture them to get more money or something.  Betty, for a reason that’s never explained, kills herself on the knife held to her throat, and the nameless man reveals his true nature: he’s a full-blown psychopath who now wishes to kill the entire gang simply because that would be neat and stuff.  And as for the girl at the beginning, Emma (Adelaide Clemens), we discover that she’s his hostage, and has been for eight months.  Her purpose is to tell the gang how they could have protected themselves only after the gang has ruined that opportunity

Cohen fails to understand why his script has absolutely no tension.  Nameless isn’t a character, but a bland function whose only purpose is to say “cool”, heartless bits of dialogue to his prey before killing them.  He can also do anything.  He can fight, he can set traps, he knows exactly where to go, and is basically un-killable.  And you pit this guy against six hapless criminals who have none of our sympathy.  With the exception of Flynn, the bad guys aren’t so bad, but they’re not innocent enough to warrant sympathy for their survival.  They’re just meat, and he’s the grinder, so all No One Lives has to offer is gore.


It certainly doesn’t bother with good performances.  It’s almost worse that they hired a few real actors rather than having the whole cast be terrible.  At least then there may have been a bit of a camp factor.  Instead, Evans, Clemmens, and Lee Tergesen (who plays the oldest member of the gang) are serviceable at best, and they’re still miles ahead of the rest of the cast.  It’s like the other cast members had no idea where to put the emphasis in their lines, so they spun a wheel and hoped for the best.  Like most gamblers, they lost and they lost big.

No One Lives is a movie where people actually say lines like “By your lead,” and “I’m your path to living, and you’re playing with dynamite.”  At one point, Evans flat out refers to himself as a “total psychopath.”  That’s for the audience members who may have been confused by his brutal, heartless, nonsensical behavior.  Even for a movie based entirely on gore, Kitamura beings nothing special to the table except the proof that he had access to lots of fake blood.  There’s not an ounce of creativity, so in that fashion, Kitamura at least keeps his tone consistent.  No One Lives is atrocious through-and-through.

Rating: F

For all of our TIFF 2012 coverage, click here.  Here are links to all of my TIFF 2012 reviews:

  • Carlos

    There’s the Goldberg we all know and love

  • Anonymous 1

    Check your spelling and grammar, as far as I can tell, your review was written as badly as you claim the film was. I haven’t seen the film so I can’t comment on that, but I can say that from the rubbish writing of the review you have given, I put no stock in what you have said. If you want people to sympathise with your reviews; or just give a monkeys back side about what you have said, then you might want to not make so many massive mistakes. There are half sentences missing (Either that or you changed your mind half way through a sentence and forgot to get rid of the first attempt), there are places where you have written the wrong word for what you wanted to say, and your grammar is terrible. So even if the movie is as bad as you say, your review is no better that the script they had to work with.

  • Anonymous 1

    Not being the kind of person who likes to be unkind to others I would normally apologies, which is exactly why I have come back to this. However having just read your review again, I cannot justify apologising for that atrocious excuse for a review. I’m afraid that it simply comes off as having been written by a sulky child who did not get to see the movie they wanted to, and is therefore determined to slag off every possible thing they can find to slag off, without putting the effort into making it presentable or even (in some places) make sense. Sorry, but I have read some poorly written reviews in my life, but this one… it truly is a disgrace.

    • Guest

      LMFAO! You are insulting her review, while saying, ” I would normally apologies”. I just watched the movie and it was absolutely abysmal. Before you go around insulting a reviewer’s review, make sure you actually watch the movie. And oh yeah, check your spelling before you criticize the exact same thing, you swine. Get off the internet.

    • Rob Fuse

      LMFAO! You are insulting his review, while saying, ” I would normally
      apologies”. I just watched the movie and it was absolutely abysmal.
      Before you go around insulting a reviewer’s review, make sure you
      actually watch the movie. And oh yeah, check your spelling before you
      criticize the exact same thing, you swine. Get off the internet.

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  • Edward Buchanan

    I think No One Lives is great – but each to their own!


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