Principal Cast : Kaitlyn Dever, Elizabeth Kaluev, Zack Duhame, Lauren L Murray, Geraldine Singer, Dane Rhodes, Daniel Rigamer, Dani Lynn Griffin.
Synopsis: An exiled anxiety-ridden homebody must battle an alien who’s found its way into her home.
Brian Duffield’s No One Will Save You is, as the kids say, an absolute banger. Part Shyamalan’s Signs, another part Jordan Peele’s Nope, and a complete U-turn from the likes of Tim Burton’s Mars Attacks, Duffield’s alien-invasion thriller mixes horror, supernatural and extra-terrestrial in one hell of a skin-prickling screen outing, showcasing not just the director’s flair for visual storytelling in a film with minimal dialogue, but lead actress Kaitlyn Dever’s magnificent strength as a performer. The fact this film dropped on the Disney+ streaming platform on debut instead of making it to big screens globally is one of the frustrating things about this “content culture” studios are hammering us with, meaning the pop-culture longevity of the film will likely last about ten seconds in real-world time, but as an example of just how to make a modern-day silent movie, this is it.
Dever plays Brynn Collins, a young woman ostracised by the townsfolk of her small rural community and shunned by even her family for some hitherto unseen past transgression. Things take a turn for the worse, however, when her home and neighbours become the victims of what appears to be a global alien invasion, complete with sky beams, gravity-defying tractor beams and skittering, chattering alien beings of unfathomable power. As she tries to survive against improbably odds, Brynn is forced to confront her past, a traumatic and life-altering event causing her to be abandoned by those closest to her.
No One Will Save You is exactly the kind of fever-dream horror-fest Agent Fox Mulder was terrified of. A global assault by an all-powerful force destined to subvert humanity as the dominant species on the planet. Where Spielberg has War Of The Worlds and its post-9/11 iconography, or Independence Day blew major cities to hell and back before Randy Quaid saved the day, or Christopher Walken ticked his anal probe bucket list item as “done” in Communion, the rapey little green (or in the case of this film, big grey) men have always found a manifestation in Hollywood’s ongoing fascination with conspiracy and mythology. Brian Duffield doesn’t reinvent the mythos of the bug-eyed aliens people wear on T-shirts, but he makes them a hell of a lot more terrifying than they’ve been in recent times.
His film plays a lot like a silent movie; there’s almost no human dialogue spoken save some minor incidental work and a repeated song sung via a record player in Brynn’s home, with the predominant focus of the thunderous audio mix being either heightened creaks, groans and cracks of the central wood-structure setting, powerful alien chittering and howling once the invasion proper begins, and Joseph Trapanese’s brilliant score. Without dialogue to speak of the film plays superbly well as an experience in careful character, blistering alien attacks, and clever re-interpretation of alien lore shifted slightly to the more modern. This is a film that defines the “show, don’t tell” methodology so well it’ll become a how-to guide for future filmmakers. The themes built into the story are engaging no matter your background, with lead actress Kaitlyn Dever delivering one of the more moving and evocative Final Girl performances in quite some time. That she never utters a word of English and still captivates, taking the viewer on a journey of pure emotion, and succeeds, is testament to her skill as an actress.
I won’t lie: I expected a lot more of a slow build-up to the film’s eventually explosive alien abduction scenario, but it occurs quite quickly and Duffield doesn’t hide his aliens away in the shadows. The alien invaders are frequently on the screen for prolonged periods, acting opposite Dever and inhabiting the space with her (pun unintended) while Duffield’s camerawork, editing and sound design work overtime to elicit thrills and spine-tingling chills at every possible moment. If there’s any criticism its that using the well-worn little-green-men trope for the aliens, instead of coming up with some new design, could be seen as a cop-out for some, but I believe it was one of the smartest decisions the director could have made. Instead of some salivating multi-toothed anger-monster we’ve never seen before and have no history with, Duffield uses our inbuilt knowledge of this kind of alien design as a kind of genetic prompt, a weird pop-culture sense-memory whereby we have an immediate understanding of what these creatures are because they’ve been inside our collective minds for so very, very long, and are automatically terrified. Duffield hardly has to do any work at all in making us fear these creatures, because we’ve been conditioned our entire lives to be exactly afraid. These strange visitors creatures aren’t that far removed from the Spielberg War of The Worlds and ID4 bug-eyed alien designs, just with a little more spindliness and opposing thumb creepiness going on. Giving the aliens a powerful telekinesis also makes them quite a formidable foe for our comparatively weak, innocent heroine to fight.
No One Will Save You is a vessel of despair, grief, anger and terror, a massive win for Duffield and his production team. Duffield is proving himself a director capable of some great B-movie stuff, having delivered writing credits on such projects as Insurgent, William Eubank’s claustrophobic Kristen Stewart-led thriller Underwater, and more recently the far more mainstream Dylan O’Brian monster movie Love & Monsters, as well as producing cult hit Cocaine Bear. The guy knows what audiences want, and understands just how to deliver it to them. Again, No One Will Save You never reinvents well-worn tropes and archetypes (hell, if anything it leans too hard into them at times) but it satisfies at a significantly primal level regardless of your appreciation for a specific genre. This is one of those rare “actually, this is a good movie” surprise packages that deserves more appreciation than being lost in the jumble of “content” on Disney+. Check it out, you’ll be (un)pleasantly surprised.