An exiled anxiety-ridden homebody must battle an alien who’s found its way into her home.
“No One Will Save You” is a dialogue-free, atmospheric chiller that will leave you guessing what happened even at the end. That’s not to say it’s not worth seeing, but I need someone to explain the ending for me. Ok, maybe even a few parts in the middle, too.
Brian Duffield writes and directs Kaitlyn Dever in this complicated role of Brynn, a young woman seemingly ostracized from her community, living a content life in the middle of nowhere. Awakened by an abrupt noise, she encounters what appears to be an alien who isn’t E.T.-friendly, although the resemblance is uncanny. This isn’t the only space invader imitation as we see a smattering of “Close Encounters,” “Poltergeist,” and even “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” all in visually horrifying ways.
Brynn must find a way to save herself, but the intensity of the chase might be too much for her. This is where the story loses focus as it becomes one graphically intense chase scene after another, filled with visually stunning special effects that send chills down your spine. While we deduce that something tragic has occurred in Brynn’s past given her used-to-be best friend’s parents spitting in her face, there needs to be more meat in this story to bring it to a satisfying conclusion.
While the story may sputter, it’s Dever’s performance that hooks us and pulls (or drags) us along to the final scene. Uttering only 2 short sentences — 5 words in total — Dever skillfully allows us inside her mind and we know what she’s thinking every step of the way. Duffield’s deft direction allows for Dever to tap into the fine subtleties required to carry this film with no dialogue.
Additionally, Duffield’s vision of how to build tension is exquisite with use of unique camera perspectives, lighting, and sound. We see Brynn’s horrified reaction and hear the unsettling noises coming from the beast, but we don’t see it…we only see Brynn which not only connects us to her. And let’s face it, our imaginations are much more gruesome than anything that can be portrayed on the screen. Duffield also doesn’t allow us to see the alien until well into the movie, but he sets up bits and pieces of what it might look like which brilliantly pulls us into the mystery of it all. We see the creature’s finger-toes from Brynn’s perspective hiding under the bed and its long, spindly fingers wrapping over the door frame, but we don’t see the entirety of the alien until Duffield thinks we should.
The backstory of Brynn’s self-isolation is what drives us to stick around to the end of the story. Through flashbacks of sorts, we gather most of what happened, but we have to endure the myriad chase scenes for that payoff. Is it enough and does the end make sense? For me, the answer is no on both counts, but I’m open for discussion as perhaps I just didn’t get the ending to tie it all together with a nice little bow.
2 1/2 Stars
Waiting at the DMV…sitting in a meeting that covers material you already know delivered by someone with a monotone voice and the charisma of vanilla ice cream…watching Brain Duffield’s “No One Will Save You.”
All of these are examples of tedious activities that might have you contemplating rash actions to escape them. And while the first on the list will produce the tangible result of a renewed driver’s license and the second might lead you to meeting the love your life, bonding over your common sense of boredom, there is no discernible benefit from participating in the third. None.
This sci-fi character study does nothing but spin its wheels, as it contains a one-note concept that would have been perfect for a half-hour anthology horror series. But as a feature film, it’s a bloated, repetitious exercise that quickly taxes the patience and breaks the spirit of anyone unfortunate enough to stumble upon it.
The one thing the film has going for it is Kaitlyn Dever, one of the finest young actors working today. She diligently carries this misguided production on her shoulders, giving far more than it deserves. As Brynn, she doesn’t have the luxury of using her voice to convey her character’s intentions as one of the tricks in Duffield’s script is that it contains no dialogue. Thankfully, she’s talented enough she doesn’t need it, and while I would rather this approach than being subjected to poor writing, the conceit wears on the viewer. Had the story progressed with a speed rivaling that of a snail hurrying towards its lunch, it may have been more bearable.
Brynn is living a rather idyllic if isolated existence. She has a beautiful Victorian house in the country, its hardwood floors gleaming, ornated throughout with antiques and other decorations that help create the perfect Norman Rockwell home. She’s quite happy living alone, doing crafts, dancing about, baking bread and journaling to her friend Maude. However, all is not well as we gradually – and I mean, gradually- come to learn Brynn was responsible for her friend’s death some ten years earlier, an incident well known by all who live in Mill River. It’s a burden.
And then the aliens come…
Yep, space invaders of the most generic sort come calling and upset Brynn’s quiet existence. She fights them in her bedroom, she fights them in the kitchen, she fights them in the foyer, she fights them on a bus when she tries to escape, she fights them in the yard, she fights them in the upstairs hallway, she fights them…you get the idea. The sheer number of times the character engages in direct combat with these creatures is stultifying. The repetition of this serves no purpose, unnecessarily bogging down the story while creating a numbing sense of boredom. That these aliens are horribly rendered doesn’t help.
Then, there’s the twist ending, an out-of-left-field turn of events I don’t think Duffield earns. There are clues planted along the way that not everything is as it seems, yet I’m not sure they justify the conclusion. The bottom line is, I don’t care enough to go back and figure it out. Duffield’s indulgent approach and “No One’s” lack of narrative depth creates such a sense of indifference in the viewer that all you care about is it ending as quickly as possible. In that regard, Duffield shows us no mercy.