Sommerleigh Pollonais, Horror Head Writer
Plot: Brynn finds solace within the walls of the home where she grew up until she’s awakened one night by strange noises from unearthly intruders.
Review: Of all the sub-genres of horror that exist, the one I’ve always found the least interesting is that of “invasion” horror, more specifically “alien invasion/abduction” horror.
These invasion stories usually have someone seemingly safe at home only to find themselves and attacked or “invaded” by some outside force. Now the reason I specify “alien” invasions is because there are a ton of invasion horror movies, I enjoy such as The Strangers, You’re Next, No One Lives and the list goes on. But unlike those movies that usually find interesting ways to add variety to this set-up, alien abduction movies (to me) tend to play out in very similar fashions. Bright lights, grey-skinned aliens, abduction, repeat.
The monotony of these stories led to me almost missing out on No One Will Save You, but I decided to check it out anyways. And boy am I glad I did because while this movie does check the standard invasion boxes, it’s anything but.
Devoid of much dialogue but chock-full of mystery, tension, and genuine intrigue No One Will Save You tells the tale of a young woman named Brynn (Kaitlyn Dever) who lives a solitary life in a farmhouse. She spends her days writing letters she’ll never send and grieving the loss of her mother and her best friend Maude while avoiding the townsfolk who have turned against her for some unknown reason. One night she awakens to the sound of an intruder in home, only to discover said intruder is an actual alien. A game of hide-and-seek ensues and ends with Brynn accidentally killing the alien, leading to a fight for survival unlike anything she could’ve imagined.
Director Brian Duffield is no stranger to the fantastical side of storytelling as he’s worked on movies like Love and Monsters, Skull Island, Underwater and The Babysitter: Killer Queen. What he does here is take all your expectations about an alien abduction scenario and twist them in delightfully crazy ways that had me yelling “what the actual fill-in-the-blank” more times than I could count. Yes, some of the aliens have designs that we’ve seen countless times before, with their skinny bodies, big black eyes and large grey heads, but no two looked exactly alike, with each iteration being more nightmarish than the next. Now I’m not sure how much sense it makes (if they’re all the same species, why do they look so different and have different abilities?) but I was willing to let that go because with a tight runtime of an hour and a half and a lack of dialogue forcing you to pay close attention to figure out what was happening, this is a movie that takes “show don’t tell” to the next level.
Speaking of lacking dialogue, actress Kaitlyn Dever is phenomenal in the lead role here. Her ability to show all she was experiencing through facial expressions and actions alone is not something every actor could do. The role is also an extremely physical one and I was exhausted just watching her fight off the invaders. And with each threat worse than the last the story explores how far we as humans will go to survive.
The first half is the strongest part of the film with the opening “chase” keeping you on the edge of your seat. Unfortunately, the movie does lose some steam in the middle and the lack of narrative means you’ll have to fill in a lot of the blanks on your own.
This is sure to annoy some viewers but personally, I liked this aspect because it fits into the whole alien abduction scenario quite well. No one is sure what’s happening, and everyone will have their own version of events. It also places you squarely in the shoes of the protagonist where all you’re feeling is confusion and dread, having no idea what any of it means or is leading to.
So what’s the message behind it all? I have my own theories which I won’t go into here as that would take us into spoiler territory for a movie that just came out. But I will say the conclusion, which I’m sure will be divisive and lead to a lot of conversations long after the credits have rolled, aligns with my thoughts on why the aliens did what they did to Brynn.
No One Will Save You was an unexpected treat for me as it took a well-worn premise and added some creative and unexpected twists. That said, it does lose pacing points as well as some of the tension when Duffield shows his aliens a tad too much. Side-stepping these issues, I think Dever’s fantastic performance and the movie’s unique touches make this one worth a look.
Score: 6.5 out of 10
So, are you a fan of alien abduction horror? What is your favourite film in the sub-genre? And you can check out more great horror content below:
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge-Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever, and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes. Double Tap Baby! Read More