By Bradley Lane
As the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes continue thanks to the reluctance of the big three studios to come to the table to negotiate, the Hollywood executives make it clear as they release films, they have no idea what they are doing. No One Will Save You is a smart, entertaining, moving and wholly original take on an alien invasion film that almost no one has heard of thanks to Disney unceremoniously dumping it on Hulu last week, in lieu of a theatrical release. Writer and director Brian Duffield uses the film as a sort of exercise in visual storytelling; he communicates so much through the framing and character expression, and he has to, because for its 93-minute runtime there are only five words of spoken dialogue.
Brynn is a loner, and she likes it that way. She lives a seemingly idyllic existence on the edge of her small town, sewing dresses for an online storefront and making scale model towns with birdhouses. However, when she has to take trips to town, it’s clear her quiet, peaceful life isn’t just about her own desire to be alone. People stare at her with disdain and contempt as she struggles to keep her anxiety from bubbling to the surface. With this isolation serving as the foundation for her story, one night she is visited by an alien that heralds an incoming invasion that threatens not only her, but the entirety of humanity.
Kaitlyn Dever has already proven herself as an exciting young talent to watch in the industry, but her turn as the almost completely silent Brynn is a masterclass in expression. Her character isn’t mute; she simply is alone and has no one to talk to. This means we need to get almost all information communicated about her through her gestures, facial expressions and body language. It is a bold choice that I concede doesn’t always transcend its novelty but is wildly interesting and impressive despite its limitations. I left the film feeling like I knew exactly who Brynn was and what made her that way and that in itself is impressive.
What is truly original about No One Will Save You is the emotional backbone of the film, and that is the audience’s relationship to information. The meta story of trying to decipher the aliens’ motivations and how that relates to Brynn’s past trauma is never not completely enthralling. The result is a last-minute reveal that recontextualizes both the film’s bold approach to storytelling and the events contained within, culminating in a moving, truly beautiful moment between audience and film that ranks among the best endings of the year.
Admittedly, the film lacks some bite I would like to see from a horror-thriller perspective and can get bogged down in its pacing toward the middle of the film. However, there is no reason to dismiss this as a disposable streaming release. I implore audiences to seek this film out to show the executives that continue to view art as disposable, that audiences crave smart, original films in an era where they are increasingly rare. No One Will Save You is exclusively available to stream on Hulu. – 3.5/5 stars