Going into the theater to see “No One Lives,” I was very excited to see a work by director Ryuhei Kitamura. The Japanese filmmaker, whose directing portfolio includes such blood-spattered action/horror flicks as “Versus” (2000) and “Midnight Meat Train,” (2008) has a style that iss perhaps best compared to that of Sam Raimi or Wes Craven–he makes the kinds of movies he wants to make, free of any sense of pretentiousness. The resulting products may be silly and unlikely to push the envelope artistically, but they’re tons of fun, and there’s plenty of merit to that.
I was a bit worried, however, when the pre-movie credits began to play and the logo of WWE Studios popped up. This media branch of the pro-wrestling giant has put out some real duds in the past–I’ll give the company credit for trying to branch out in a risky direction, but films like “See No Evil” (2006) and “The Marine” (2006), like the XFL, made me think WWE should have stuck to wrestling.
While my expectations were mixed, all in all, what I got was a very enjoyable, satisfying experience. “No One Lives” is essentially a by-the-numbers slasher piece, complete with cheesy, cringe-inducing dialogue and a psuedo-low-budget aesthetic, but these qualities actually work in the movie’s favor, lending it humor and down-to-earth honesty. The film is neither particularly complex nor thought-provoking, nor does it aim to be, or need to be–it aims purely for light-hearted fun, and greatly delivers in that capacity.
It should be said that the film is remarkably gruesome, even by genre standards. As WWE Superstar and “No One Lives” cast member Brodus Clay told the Sarasota audience before the screening, “it’s not for the faint of heart.” The title leaves little room for ambiguity regarding the characters’ fates, most of which are absurdly bloody. That said, this will certainly please fans of B-movie horror, and serves as the proverbial meat and potatoes of the entertainment experience.