(France/US/UK - 2013)
Directed by Ryuhei Kitamura. Written by David Lawrence Cohen. Cast: Luke Evans, Adelaide Clemens, Lee Tergesen, Derek Magyar, America Olivo, Beau Knapp, Lindsay Shaw, Brodus Clay, Laura Ramsey, Gary Grubbs. (R, 86 mins)
With his 2001 Yakuza vs. zombies cult classic VERSUS, Japanese director Ryuhei Kitamura seemed poised to break out as the next Takashi Miike. Kitamura has remained busy, reaching Miike-like productivity with four films released in 2003 alone. Kitamura went on to direct 2004's GODZILLA: FINAL WARS, the 50th anniversary epic Godzilla monster mash that many purists hated but it has its charms (most notably the American Godzilla--referred to as 'Zilla--from Roland Emmerich's much-maligned 1998 remake showing up and getting killed by the real Godzilla after about eight seconds of screen time, with the villain quipping "I told you that thing was useless!"), before trying to crack the American market with the 2008 Clive Barker short story adaptation THE MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN. Lionsgate was undergoing a management change at the time and they wanted to move away from the "horror" label that they'd earned with the massively-popular SAW franchise. As a result, all horror films except SAW got swept under the rug (including Joel Schumacher's surprisingly entertaining BLOOD CREEK), and THE MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN, after several release date shufflings and months of the trailer being shown before nearly every movie I saw for the better part of a year with moviegoers inevitably snickering at the title, opened on a mere 102 screens to the tune of $35,000. Kitamura and Barker blamed Lionsgate for the film's failure, but while the studio's bailing didn't help, the fact remains that it just wasn't very good, with its impact significantly dampened by some bush-league CGI gore, and it's a prime example of something reading a lot better on the page than it plays on the screen.
Kitamura gives the American market another go with the Louisiana-shot NO ONE LIVES, co-produced by WWE Studios. While distributor Anchor Bay rolled it out on just 53 screens nationwide, it had a marginally better opening weekend than MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN, grossing $48,000. It's too bad more horror fans aren't aware of this, or that Anchor Bay seems to be just settling for future DVD, VOD, and Netflix revenue, because NO ONE LIVES, while a tad illogical if you break it down, is the kind of raw, visceral, relentlessly-paced, drive-in-style B-movie thrill machine (Kitamura doesn't forget to include a completely gratuitous topless shot near the end) that you don't see much on the big screen these days. It harbors no illusions about being anything more or deeper than it is: pretty much everyone in the film is thoroughly loathsome, and they die in some inventively gory ways as the filmmakers do everything they can to make the movie's title a guarantee.
SILENT HILL: REVELATION), an heiress abducted from a college party six months earlier. Emma warns them that they have no idea what they're up against and that "he's going to find you and he's going to kill you...you're already dead."