Monday, August 11, 2014

No One Lives

Every so often, as I scan through titles on the Netflix site, I’ll peer through the recommendations automatically set for me.  Most of the time they’re films I’ve seen or own already, sometimes they’re movies I’ve viewed and didn’t like, but once in a blue moon there’s a diamond in the rough that makes me glad I take the time to look through these titles.  One such film I glanced over and had sent to my house for a viewing was No One Lives.

One reason I decided to have this sent to me was that the average rating was a shade over three stars, but another reason was that some of the written reviews submitted by a few Netflix subscribers highly praised it.  However, the synopsis of the film is what sold me.  It sounded like such an interesting plot and unique story that I felt I had to watch it right away.

The film opens with a young woman (Adelaide Clemens) screaming and seen running through the woods clad in her underwear.  She runs over some broken glass (clearly a trap left for her), pulls out the pieces from her foot and keeps going, continuing on as she sees a roadway in the clearing ahead.  Just as she is about to reach the traffic-busy thoroughfare, she’s caught in a hanging rope snare.  As she hangs upside-down and unable to cut the rope with the piece of glass she kept, she carves a message on the tree, reading “Emma Alive.”  Later, we see a news report that a young woman named Emma, who is the heiress of some wealthy family, has been missing for quite some time.  The film then cuts to a young couple (Luke Evans and Laura Ramsey), travelling across country, towing a small windowless trailer—making us, the audience, wonder if
the girl we’d seen earlier is locked inside.  The couple seems to have some difficulties as they talk about how they had to move due to him having to relocate; the atmosphere between them tells us they’re having a rough time in their lives.  Soon, they stop at a motel for the night and decide to go into town for something to eat.  During their dinner, they get harassed by a group of criminals who target them as a wealthy couple and a potential payday.  But things go wrong for the criminals very quickly as things aren’t what they seem.

I really don’t want to give too much away about this film.  I’ll just say that when I watched this for the first time, the story I thought that was going to play out did not happen in the way I had expected.  Where some aspects were obvious, most of the film goes in a direction you just don’t see coming.  I’ve just got to relay that this film was pretty bad-ass.  But one dilemma you’ll be faced with is that you won’t know who to cheer for as the film gets to the middle and reveals itself.  With the group of undesirables—one of them being a complete douche bag—you sort of root for them towards the middle of the movie…but really don’t want to at the same time.  Again, it may sound confusing, but without giving the plot away, I really can’t explain it.  All I can say is…you’ll see when you watch this.

I thoroughly enjoyed this from beginning to end.  The performances weren’t top notch, but for a film like this, you really don’t need any Oscar-worthy acting.  I was surprised at the beginning of the film where the logo of WWE Films is shown.  Usually, from what I’ve seen from that production company, their films showcase a star wrestler in the lead.  Here, however, there is a wrestler (George Murdoch, going by his wrestling name of Brodus Clay), but he has very little screen time.  I’m also amazed that Luke Evans took this role, seeing that this seems to be a low budget horror thriller.  I’ve seen and heard he’s been in some high caliber films like 2010’s Robin HoodClash of the TitansThe Immortals and the recent Hobbit films, so I thought this might have been beneath him.  But he excelled in this and made it his own.

Sorry, but I have to make this short and sweet.  There’s really not much I can get into without giving away plot details and I think that anyone who ventures into this movie should go into it cold, without much knowledge of the synopsis; it will definitely make the movie experience better if you do that.  But if there’s one piece of advice I can give you is to trust the average rating on Netflix.  With the exception of some of my favorite horror films and others I have nostalgia, the films that are rated on the web site are right on par.  Sometimes I’ll go against it and see a film that was rated as one star and I’ll hate it, but when I rent one that has been rated with three or more I usually love it or like it quite a bit.  So go with the ratings, peeps.

So, what’s my final “bit” on No One Lives?

I don’t know why I’ve never heard of this film, nor do I know if it had any theatrical time.  Maybe it was a straight-to-DVD release…I haven’t the slightest.  Whatever the case, it’s a very interesting and original story, turning the typical thriller formula on its head.  Even if you guess some aspects of the story, you’ll still be shocked or surprised by something else.  You’ll go from caring about one character to despising them—as well as vice versa.  The ending made room for a possible sequel, but I doubt we’ll get one.  Still, trust the judgment of Netflix users—as well as mine—and see this film.

Thanks for reading and I welcome any comments!

Cinema Bits is on Twitter and Facebook.

No comments: