NO ONE LIVES (2013)
Starring Luke Evans, Adelaide Clemens, Lee Tergesen, Laura Ramsey, Derek Magyar, Beau Knapp, America Olivo, Brodus Clay and Lindsey Shaw.
Screenplay by David Lawrence Cohen.
Directed by Ryuhei Kitamura.
Distributed by Anchor Bay Entertainment. 86 minutes. Rated R.
Into the strange bedfellows’ files comes this movie, a joint production between the French art house studio Pathé! and World Wrestling Entertainment Films.
I mean, it’s great that the WWE has made such a huge investment in their film division. They obviously take it somewhat seriously, even if the studio mostly does b-movie vanity productions co-starring down-on-their-luck actors (such as Parker Posey, Jamie Kennedy, Michael Rapaport, Jennifer Esposito, Ed Harris, Amy Madigan, Robert Patrick and Bruce Dern) with their own homegrown, uhh, talent… (such as John Cena, Triple H, Randy Orton, Edge, Kane or Steve Austin).
But what are they doing with a co-production with one of the most acclaimed studios in Europe?
The mind boggles. A mix of high and low art? Is it an arty period drama with Brodus Clay? An oddball cop drama with subtitles? A goofy romantic comedy in which the dude has significantly bigger boobs than the girl?
No, none of the above, though all of those ideas may be oddly entertaining.
What No One Lives turns out to be is a surprisingly taut but extremely violent hallucinogenic thriller. It’s torture porn with just enough artsy twists to make it a bit better than it really should be. Not that it is a great, or even good film, but there are a couple of eccentric performances that somewhat overshadow the tired genre set up.
The basic idea seems simple. A well-off young couple (Luke Evans and Laura Ramsey) are driving through the southern backwoods and stop in a mysterious and otherwise empty cheap hotel. At the local diner, they are harassed by a crazed hood who is part of a gang that had just killed a family during a failed home invasion.
The hood decides to make up for the lost payday with the young strangers. He kidnaps the couple and steals their car and trailer.
What the audience already knows, but these bumbling thieves don’t, is that there is something odd about the couple. The guy watches news reports about a disappeared heiress a little too closely and enjoys hurting his timid girlfriend during sex.
Then the girlfriend is hurt and the heiress turns up to be alive in the couple’s trunk and all bets are off.
It turns out that the guy is an evil homicidal superman who is determined to get the kidnapped heiress back and kill the entire gang as revenge.
Like I said, it’s a pretty standard set-up, but Evans as the psycho destroyer and Adelaide Clemens as his psychologically damaged victim (does she have Stockholm syndrome or is something more treacherous going down?) add some interesting spice to stock characters.
Their twisted battle of wills almost makes up for the complete cheesiness of the rest of the film. Not quite, but almost.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2013 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: May 10, 2013.