No One Will Save You
Kaitlyn Dever plays a woman flight-or-fighting for her life in this stylish, moody, aliens-as-serial-killers thriller out on Hulu.
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The legendary screenwriter William Goldman argued that, contrary to perceptions by audiences and within Hollywood, dialogue is the least important element of a good script. I was about halfway through watching “No One Will Save You,” the stylish new horror/science fiction thriller from Hulu, before I realized just how true this can be.
Kaitlyn Dever plays Brynn, a lonely young woman living in a remote house near a small Midwestern town. She seems to make some kind of cloth knickknacks for a living; possibly her parents are dead and left the spread to her along with a nest egg. The important thing is she’s very much on her own.
Then she is attacked by an alien, and then another, and eventually she realizes it’s an entire invasion. It doesn’t play out on a macro level like most such science fiction films such as “War of the Worlds,” but a personal flight-or-fight trauma as she is stalked and threatened.
Basically, it’s aliens-as-serial-killers.
So about 45 minutes into the movie, I realized how much I was enjoying it. It’s expressive and moody, and writer/director Brian Duffield (“Love and Monsters”) uses the M.O. that you don’t have to explain absolutely everything to the audience. Just give them strong emotional and story beats, and they will come along for the ride.
It reminded me in a lot of ways of “It Follows,” one of my favorite scare flicks of recent years. The musical score by Joseph Trapanese is also similar, bending traditional instrumentals for an eerie, disassociative effect.
That’s about when I realized nobody had spoken any words. Or will. Other than some background chatter you’re not really meant to understand, the movie is completely dialogue-free. (Well… nearly so.)
It’s a testimony to Dever and Duffield that we feel like Brynn is communicating very clearly with us, even though the only thing that comes out of her mouth are shrieks of terror, grunts of pain, panicked breathing and the like.
You really don’t need dialogue to speak volumes.
I won’t give away too much about what happens, as this is the sort of movie best experienced without a lot of foreknowledge. And, given that it’s basically just Brynn being chased in and around her home, there really isn’t that much to describe anyway.
One thing that’s key is that Bryn is absolutely despised by all the people in her town. Like, people chatter about her or turn away when she pops in to mail packages or pick up groceries. She’s the local black sheep times 10. Even the chief of police and his wife, who Brynn seems to know well, offer an extreme sort of greeting.
And Brynn obviously bears the weight of that ostracism. We see her writing letters to a childhood friend, Maude, talking about never being able to forgive herself. There is something dark and dreadful in her past.
The initial encounter with an alien plays out like a typical horror movie home invasion. Brynn is able to make it into town but finds some people acting strange and threatening. They mimic the strange clicking and vibrating moans of the invaders. The creature designs for the aliens are both classically familiar and varied in disturbing ways.
OK, that’s enough.
That makes this a shorter review than usual, but “No One Will Save You” is a very effective thriller that I highly recommend. Sometimes you just don’t need a lot of words.