No One Lives (2012)

“No One Lives” is a mixed bag. On the one hand, the story is interesting and director Ryûhei Kitamura establishes an oppressive, tense atmosphere that suggests that anything could happen anytime. Additionally, while lead Luke Evans is often stiff as an enigmatic central presence whose mysterious past sets about the motion of the plot’s machinations, he has enough screen presence to magnetize the viewer: Every time he’s on screen, you can’t take your eyes off him because he’s so believable as an inscrutable, impenetrable and unstoppable force. There are some interesting moments throughout as well, with some death scenes rising to the level of some of the best kills in the “Friday the 13th” franchise, but the movie’s main issue is its characters: There’s literally no one to root for. Evans is ostensibly the villain while the gang he targets for retribution is made up of a bunch of unlikable idiots, and the movie’s main protagonist (Adelaide Clemens in a deeply off-putting performance) is fatally unsympathetic. So ultimately, come for Evans but just be ready for an effective-enough-but-flawed entry.

Rating: ★★★ (out of 5)

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