The sentence "they picked the wrong person to mess with" is often the theme of movies with heroes or vigilantes.  It also applies to sociopaths in No One Lives, a throwback to the grindhouse movies of excess violence and gore.

A driver (Luke Evans) and his girlfriend Betty (Laura Ramsey) are driving.  He had to relocate, she's jealous of some unidentified woman, and they seem like a combination of affectionate and bitterness.

Unfortunately, the couple fall into the hands of a gang.  Flynn (Derek Magyar) has been in hot water with the gang's leader Hoag (Lee Tergesen) since Flynn shot and killed the family whose home the gang was robbing, forcing the gang to flee without the goods.  Flynn's new plan is simple: Kidnap the rich couple, and soon they'll give up their PIN codes, bank accounts, and everything else.

However, when the couple is captured and Flynn is going through their car, Flynn finds something unexpected: a person.  Emma (Adelaide Clemens) is an heiress who was kidnapped by the driver six months ago after he slaughtered seventeen of her classmates.  She believes that he thinks he's in love with her -- and he'll kill anyone who gets between them.  Sure enough, the driver easily kills the gang member who had been keeping him and Betty hostage -- and soon he's after the rest of them, with crossbow bolts, rifle blasts, and snare traps.  Soon the blood and guts are flowing freely, as one by one the deaths start coming.

Grindhouse films are known for their over-the-top elements, and No One Lives is no exception.  There's lots of violence and mayhem, torture and sadism.  Unfortunately, No One Lives also shares the genre's lack of real acting ability or decent scripting.  None of the characters are likable or sympathetic -- even the kidnapped Emma seems irritable and abrasive -- leaving the audience with no one to root for.  The script is very exploitative (even including a catfight and shower scenes) and the fight scenes are too perfectly choreographed to be believable.  (And the dvd extra is only one feature.)

No One Lives revels in its old-style gore and horror, but that's all it brings.  Horror needs more than that -- acting, creativity, even humor -- to be effective, and this movie just isn't.

Overall grade: D
Reviewed by James Lynch

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