Although I’ve been freaked out by fictional aliens before—the alien from Alien, the thing from The Thing, the potato-headed creep from E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial—I have never considered myself afraid of aliens like I am of serial killers and ghosts and the like.
Maybe it’s because while the more earthbound spooks can theoretically get at you anywhere, I have no plans on ever going to space or Antarctica or into a Stephen Spielberg film. I do frequently go home, though. That happens to be where I live.
So when a movie drops about freaky aliens invading someone’s house I take notice. This time that film was No One Will Save You, a quite effective horror piece that stands apart thanks to its fantastic central performance, admirable CGI, and interesting framing.
There are less than ten spoken words in No One Will Save You, a bold choice that could have gone wrong in multiple ways if it weren’t for Kaitlyn Dever, who plays our main character Brynn, as well as some good old fashioned “show, don’t tell” storytelling on behalf of the screenwriters and director.
Dever’s presence and command of the screen is astounding, making us care about and sympathize with Brynn despite the fact that we go into the film with only vague hints of her backstory and almost never hear her talk. All we know at first is that she is the town pariah and that, if the title is to be believed, she won’t have anyone to turn to when things start to go down.
The film rarely let’s up when this happens, ratcheting up the tension and keeping it there. The aliens are appropriately scary, always showing some new disturbing trait just when you thought you had them all figured out.
As Jaws taught us, the less we see of a movie monster the scarier it is, and while this holds true of the aliens in No One Will Save You, the CGI used to render them is done well enough that they are still scary when you do get an eyeful.
The sound design and directing adds to the visuals, keeping things dark and creepy even when the action moves to the daytime.
And that ending? Well, let’s just say that it is one that I was thinking about long after the film ended.
The lack of narrative handholding that makes Brynn’s backstory so interesting is felt up until the credits roll, leaving the end up for debate and interpretation. Or I’m just a rube who thinks a lack of clarity is the same as being artsy. It’s one of the two.
Even at 90-minutes No One Will Save You does occasionally feel long, but I think this speaks more to the tension present in the film than any perceived pacing issues. It’s a tight, effective thriller that is a good choice for this upcoming spooky season, and if the creep factor doesn’t stick with you the ending will.
No One Will Save You is available on Hulu.