The WWE logo splashing across the screen during a trailer or promo, doesn’t exactly fill this potential viewer with confidence. Sure, they’ve had some watchable(at best) films, especially in the horror genre, such as See No Evil, but they also have duds such as The Marine 3, and 12 Rounds 2. In 2013, I was witness to not one, but two WWE Films titles that were not only just watchable, but I’d consider them to be exceptional. One of which was the action thriller Dead Man Down, starring Colin Farrell and Noomi Rapace. The other WWE film that hit the big screen in 2013 was No One Lives. I remember the first time I was exposed to the trailer, it was before a screening of Rob Zombie’s The Lords Of Salem, that I had driven two hours to see. I’m not sure if I was just in a bad mood from driving, or if it’s because of the WWE logo, but I thought No One Lives looked like some kind of straight to video rubbish. So, when I was finally able to sit down and watch it, imagine my surprise when it turned out to be one of the best “slasher” films I have seen in a very long time.
No One Lives, is a slash-em-up, that dares to alter the formula just enough to distance itself from the pack. I’m not going to get into what exactly makes it so different from any other slasher you’ve ever seen, as I feel that would be doing you a disservice, but suffice it to say, you’ll be convinced, within the first 20 minutes of the film, that you’ve seen a hundred other films just like it, and then suddenly, when the second act begins, you’ll start to realize that No One Lives isn’t exactly what you thought it would be. Around the time the second act starts, is when I decided that I was completely in love with this movie. Just when you think No One Lives is about the venture into generic torture film territory, it pulls the rug from underneath your feet, and treats you to a wild ride that consists of some of the most creative kills I’ve seen for a long time. And no, it’s not a torture film, generic or otherwise. It is a straight up slasher film, that adheres to the formula which was set by early examples, such as Black Xmas, The Burning and Friday the 13th, yet it’s different enough to carve out it’s own groove in the vast wasteland that has become of the horror genre.
Too many films try to mimic the greats, rather than taking a chance, and trying something different. Even in the area of on-screen kills, many filmmakers that venture into slasher territory spend too much time trying to figure out how to capture that old magic in a bottle, and still put together a strong enough feature to put asses in the seats. I understand paying homage to the films you grew up loving. Some of my favorite filmmakers wear their influences on their sleeves like a badge of honor, but there’s a thin line between showing your influences, and just rehashing the same ideas over and over, in an attempt to catch the right amount of eyes to turn a profit. The kills in No One Lives are creative, wacky and almost over the top. It actually manages to straddle the line between realistic and over the top, so that you can still have fun with the kills, but not be bombarded with computer generated blood effects for the entire duration of the film. There are a couple of scenes that utilize CGI, but for the most part, the effects are handled more on the practical side. And yes, gorehounds, there will be enough gory red stuff to satiate even you.
No One Lives was directed by Ryûhei Kitamura, a name you should recognize as the director of such films as Azumi, Versus and The Midnight Meat Train. And while this film definitely has a style of its own, you will certainly be able to tell who the director is, of course, if you’re familiar with his previous works. The video and audio quality are both superb, of course, being a new release film, however, like a lot of Anchor Bay’s new release titles, there are practically no special features on the disc. There is one featurette entitled “From The Script To The Crypt”, but that is it. We should have at least been given a featurette showcasing the behind-the-scenes action in regards to the special effects, if not a commentary. But, don’t let that deter you from picking No One Lives up. The film itself is worthy of the price you’ll pay. The Blu Ray is currently available for under eighteen bucks, but if you sit tight for a bit, these Anchor Bay titles generally drop to around 9.99 or lower, a couple of months after the release.
No One Lives is now available on Blu-Ray + DVD Combo, DVD and Digital platforms, via Starz/Anchor Bay and WWE Studios.