Released 2023. Director: Brian Duffield
UNDER ATTACK AND ALL ALONE, NO HELP FROM ANYONE – a terrible situation but a promising idea for an action thriller. No One Will Save You just about delivers on that potential with its minimalism in style and execution, but begins to slip when plot elements become muddled.
An impressive aspect of this movie is it’s almost entirely without spoken words. No dialogue throughout, just gasps, gulps, pants, screams and sound effects. You could conceivably turn down the volume and still be able to get what’s going on.
Writer-director Brian Duffield rather cleverly drops enough visual exposition in his introduction to the protagonist, a young woman named Brynn. We get she’s orphaned and lives alone in an isolated country house, her best friend died ten years ago, neighbours and people in town hate her, even the postal delivery guy treats her package like a basketball. All explained without anyone speaking. And later on, why it’s pointless to seek help at the local police department.
One night, Brynn is woken by a noise and finds something definitely not human skulking downstairs. She tries to hide and keep quiet but it doesn’t go well and in the ensuing struggle Brynn stabs the invader.
No One Will Save You is a blend of home invasion and alien encounters that borrows ideas and visual cues unashamedly from prominent sci-fi movies including Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Signs, War of the Worlds, A Quiet Place and Invasion of the Body Snatchers. The alien creature design is straight off the textbook – slender grey figures with big heads, bug-eyed and long slim fingers. The feeling that we’ve seen it all before probably contributes to the overall lack of tension and suspense because there’s not a lot that feels fresh. Craftsmanship is adequate in terms of how the movie looks and moves but Duffield really needed more to not come across as shaking a bag of recycled materials.
Kaitlyn Dever is a fine choice to play the besieged heroine. The movie banks on her delicate, waif-like persona to heighten the severity of her predicament, and so when she fights back, you feel she’s earned every minute of survival when she’s conquered her vulnerability and done it all by herself.
But why is Brynn spared at the end? You don’t really expect the movie would allow this defenceless young woman to die at the end of the ordeal, do you? So this doesn’t count as a spoiler. The aliens, having probed her memory, see that she’s remorseful of what happened to her best friend Maude and has been trying to atone for what she did. In other words, she’s not a bad person. And so they let Brynn live in a wonderful new world where she’s surrounded by alien-possessed townsfolk who now adore her. It makes no sense.
Besides twisting itself to bring about an illogical happy ending, there’s so much more we could question about the depiction of these unwelcome visitors. As the aliens are clearly way more advanced in technology (levitation, force-field, mind-reading, and so on), why are they colonising the planet one human at a time? Takes them all night, then another day and another night just to terrorise one person. Great, only 8 billion more to go.
In their time-consuming effort to go after one human, the aliens at one point beamed down a Brynn doppleganger. The real Brynn fights the copy Brynn, which is a meaningless attempt at some deeper analysis. The aliens want her captured, not to enact some psychological experiment to prove some point.
The ending may have been intended as a surprise but it doesn’t make sense. A sharp turn into a dead-end corner, a blemish on a thin but nonetheless attractive outline to three quarters of a story.
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