I expect sub-par dialogue and acting in horror films, but in No One Lives those missteps were unbearable. Save for a few nice twists, this clunker is one of the more boring horror flicks I've seen.
Japanese director Ryuhei Kitamura takes a sharp turn from his zombie splatterfest Versus to tell us a story about backwoods bandits who kidnap a couple. But the couple (Luke Evans, Laura Ramsey) hold a few secrets destined to turn the kidnappers' world topsy-turvy. Screening at the Toronto International Film Festival, No One Lives starts slow but gets the blood spilling when the first shocker makes an appearance.
The killings we inevitably witness are routinely gory and derivative, barely stirring any true horror during the storyline. Little creativity makes those scenes memorable.
But what I do remember best is the horrific dialogue, spoken so stonily you would think these were first-time actors. Evans (Clash of the Titans) might not be the worst perpetrator, but he's given some face-palming lines, such as when he's asked why he seeks to murder people: "Because it keeps me fit."
It's hard to discern if the film is trying to be cheeky, poking fun at horror cliches, as we saw in Joss Whedon's The Cabin in the Woods. The film takes itself seriously, to a fault. If Kitamura went with a more self-mocking approach, No One Lives might have been more palatable. Instead, poorly written dialogue and wooden acting hurt this film beyond repair.
If you want a good laugh, watch No One Lives. But don't give it a chance if you want to be truly terrified by a film, because it fails miserably at even making this horror fan's heart pick up pace.
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