With the sheer volume of films coming out through streaming platforms, directors need a good hook to get anyone to notice them. In the case of No One Will Save You (2023), the hook is verbal minimalism. I wasn’t sitting there counting, but if I remember correctly, there were only 5 words of spoken dialogue in the entire film. Now, you might assume that this made the viewing experience a snooze fest. On the contrary, the film keeps a breakneck pace for nearly all of its 93-minute runtime. But as exciting as it may be, Brian Duffield’s No One Will Save You doesn’t take its dialogue-free script into very interesting territory. 

Have you ever watched a film and felt like the filmmakers desperately want you to love it? That sounds stupid, as pretty much every filmmaker wants audiences to love their films, but some do it through subtle mastery of the cinematic form, while others do it with all the nuance of a guy elbowing you in the ribs repeatedly and asking “Did you see that? Did you see what I did there?” Duffield brings his alien story to the silver screen with the latter energy, using a few well-timed jump scares and a comical amount of missteps on the part of the heroine to keep an otherwise humdrum plot afloat. 

Brynn (Kaitlyn Dever) is a quirky seamstress living a quirky (albeit depressing) life in her childhood home. She silently mourns the deaths of her mother and her friend, Maude, while the townspeople, with whom she tries to avoid contact at all costs, hate her guts for no apparent reason. Her quiet existence takes a turn for the horrific when she wakes up to find a humanoid alien walking around her home. Brynn tries unsuccessfully to avoid the creature but eventually confronts and kills it. This is when all hell breaks loose, as Brynn discovers that this is not the only alien roaming around her block.

The aliens have rendered electrical appliances and vehicles inoperable, so Brynn takes her bike into town. Strangely, the town seems relatively unaffected by the appearance of aliens, and they continue to hate Brynn’s guts, even though there are much bigger issues at hand. Brynn decides that the best course of action is escape, so she hops on the first bus heading anywhere far away from We-Hate-Brynnville. This is when she discovers that the aliens have done an Invasion of the Body Snatchers job on the town, as several alien-controlled people attack her and cut her bus trip short.

No One Will Save You (2023)

Brynn manages to escape the attack and finds her way back home. Like any good horror movie protagonist, she tries to barricade her home, but alien spaceships turn out to be far more powerful than nails and plywood. From here, Brynn is forced to fight and escape aliens of all shapes and sizes. At just about every point in the film, you think that Brynn couldn’t possibly face another obstacle or ridiculous encounter, only to see her confronted by a creature that is larger, more powerful, more disgusting, or just more bizarre than the last. 

Be warned, there are spoilers ahead, so if you haven’t seen the film and want to maintain your naivety, you can stop reading here. 

What will keep people talking about No One Will Save You for a short time is certainly the ending. It takes a strange turn into the surreal, leaving you scratching your head for a moment before you realize what has happened and think okay…sure…I guess that’s fine. After many failed attempts, the aliens finally abduct Brynn into one of their spaceships. They probe her brain and discover the root of her trauma and the reason the townspeople hate her. Taking pity on Brynn (presumably), the aliens agree to return her to Earth. In the final scene, we see a happy-go-lucky town, filled with Brynn-loving residents — all controlled by aliens. Brynn dances her troubles away at an outdoor party as UFOs hover high above. It’s probably not the ending you expected, but it’s also not the ending you wanted, either.

If you want to break down No One Will Save You into its most relevant components, there are essentially three things to take note of: the lack of dialogue, the fast-paced alien invasion plot, and the surprise ending. Brian Duffield puts these elements together like individual pieces from three different children’s puzzles. They don’t really fit together, but if you smash them into place, you end up with something resembling a good picture. 

In all sincerity, there’s plenty of entertainment value in the film, particularly if you can get through the slow introduction. It takes you on a wild ride and then leaves you with a love-it-or-hate-it ending. What is the point of No One Will Save You? In my view, the point is to present just enough unique elements to be likable without drifting away from the science fiction and horror clichés that likely secured its funding. The problem is that the film feels like it was written by an algorithm. Duffield could have punched “quirky, fast-paced alien invasion movie with almost no dialogue and funny/strange ending” into an LLM and come out with the exact same result (important side note: don’t use LLMs to make movies, write books, or try to create anything of value). 

My final verdict is that No One Will Save You (2023) is just too mediocre to praise and too entertaining to ignore. The pace is fast, the jump scares are occasionally effective, and the plot borders on innovative. If it had been put in the hands of a more capable filmmaker, or perhaps not been run through the meatgrinder that is modern content creation — I mean filmmaking — it could have been a film that people would be talking about for years to come. Instead, it’s just a reworking of older, better alien invasion films. And much like the awkward guy who forces his way into the conversation, it tries so hard to be liked by everyone that it risks being liked by no one.

No One Will Save You (2023) Movie Rating: ★★½ out of 5

If you’d like to watch No One Will Save You (2023), the film is currently available to stream on Hulu. For more film reviews like this one, be sure to check out the Philosophy in Film homepage!

The post No One Will Save You (2023), A Dialogue-Free Sci-Fi Horror Film appeared first on Philosophy in Film.

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