The brand new bloodbath from stylistic director Ryûhei Kitamura (Godzilla: Final Wars, The Midnight Meat Train) is a welcome twist on the slasher film. As most would argue you’re identifying with the stalker of these films anyway, No One Lives presents its sociopath, the quietly menacing Driver, as your protagonist. It’s his world, the rest of the ensemble is just dying in it. Luke Evans talks about the movie, the inner workings of his character and all of the nasty fun he seemed to have on set.
One of the things that seems interesting about No One Lives is playing a sociopath. How do you get into that kind of collected, but frightening headspace?
"You can’t think too much about the dark bits, I think, until you really have to. You got to think of it just as a character reference and just see the different layers. There’s some incredible books about psychopaths and some really interesting documentaries. The thing that stood out, for me, about psychopaths is that they can lead very normal lives, blend into society very easily, they don’t stick out like a sore thumb; they can hold down jobs. They don’t show their scars, but underneath they can lack this emotional intelligence and be capable of quite dark, sinister things. Which, I thought was a great, interesting emotion and energy to play."
The film is recognizable in a certain genre sense, but films like this feel a bit off beat because there is no one to readily latch on to. Everyone has these massive character flaws.
"That was sort of what drew me to the script in the first place, this story which starts off where you think, 'Oh okay, the innocent young couple unfortunately get kidnapped by these hicks,' and then the whole thing gets turned around and you think, 'Hold on a minute, I wasn’t expecting that.' I like the way that it does force you as an audience member to question your moral and ethical compass. You start thinking, 'This guy is doing shocking, grotesque, vile, disturbed things, but he’s doing them to people that are not very nice. They’re not model members of society. They’re scum.' In a way, I started to question who I was supporting in the film and it often ended up being The Driver."
He has an interesting relationship with who you perceive to be a girlfriend and another captive. What is that devotion, exactly?
"He’s socially able to manipulate them, which empowers him. He manipulated these innocent young girls to fall in love with him, which was another thing that was very interesting. He’s not a freak, he’s normal. He dresses well and looks normal. He doesn’t have any weird bits that would scare anybody, and I think he’s utilized that. He makes them feel safe and secure and in a way, in his head, it’s love. In his head, he is convinced that these women are in love with him. The one girl at the beginning, she’s suffering from the Stockholm syndrome. She’s falling in love with the person that’s holding you hostage. That’s an interesting subject in itself, that that actually does happen. People actually suffer from this and almost ignore all the terrible things that person has done and find some sort of attachment and love and relationship with these people. He’s very much grateful for that, in a strange way. That keeps him feeling normal. I don’t think he would even hurt these girls, that’s the thing. He is in love with them, I don’t think he would ever kill them. It’s more about ownership. They’re his and no one else’s."
How is it working with Ryuhei Kitamura? He’s established himself as a great stylist.
"He’s awesome, actually. When we first spoke, we realized we were attracted to the script for the same reasons. We were fascinated by this genre story that was being turned on its head and what that meant. That’s what intrigued us, together. We would do these gory scenes and I’d offer some idea of how we can make it worse thinking he’d go, 'No, no, this is enough,' and he’d say, 'Let’s do that!'"
You do work extensively with blood and makeup. You arising out of a corpse is something pretty amazing.
"That was quite a shocking scene, and I don’t know whether you noticed, but when we were shooting the movie there were certain moments that felt very like homage to iconic moments of other films. That one really reminded me of the famous Hannibal Lecter scene with the face in the ambulance. I thought that was great. Doing the film, I noticed that I was referring to other films where there were certain moments that reminded me of other, really brilliant moments. That’s what the film is. It’s entertaining, I don’t think that you should go taking it all too deeply. It’s a slasher movie with a twist and I think horror fans will probably lap it up because of tons of blood and the sick nature of the murders and stuff."
No One Lives is released and distributed by Solar Entertainment Corporation. Showing on September 11 in Philippine cinemas.