I had no idea No One Will Save You even existed until I saw people raving about it on Twitter. Typically, I don’t pay much attention to what’s happening online but Stephen King, one of horror’s most present voices, waxed some serious poetry about this Hulu original. So, like most horror fans, I checked it out. While I admit it does have a very original premise, I had a few too many issues with the overall execution to make this a truly memorable alien film for me.
No One Will Save You
Director: Brian Duffield
Release Date: September 19, 2023 (Hulu)
No One Will Save You begins by depicting the isolated life of Brynn (Kaitlyn Dever). She’s withdrawn from the rest of her town and seems to have no friends or family in her life aside from the model town she works on in her home. One night, after stilted and minimal interactions with the townspeople, her home is invaded by aliens.
From here the plot only gets more intense. Brynn manages to kill the alien intruder, but the next day it’s revealed that every house surrounding her was also invaded by these space aliens. After a harrowing experience with the parents of her deceased best friend, Maude, Brynn attempts to leave town. Her trip is thwarted by other passengers, who are now controlled by the aliens.
Back at home, Brynn continues fighting off the aliens. After killing a couple more she is finally caught and forced to ingest a strange organism that controls humans by altering their perceived reality. Brynn defies alien control by pulling the organism out of her throat. She is then abducted by the aliens and they study her trauma before rereleasing her into an alien-controlled world. The final reveal is that (spoiler) she loves it. As a result of Brynn’s angst and total control of the aliens over the rest of humanity, the townspeople finally interact with Brynn positively.
No One Will Save You stands out for its most interesting production decision: the film has virtually no dialogue. Aside from the screams and gasps of fright, I think there’s only one real line spoken in the entire film. It’s a pretty intense decision, but one that No One Will Save You commits to fully. Luckily, Dever’s performance is strong enough to carry a dialogue-free film. And while this decision works, it also leaves room for more scrutiny about its plot.
I love horror that builds itself around personal and communal trauma. No One Will Save You does this by depicting an ostracized girl who made a horrifying choice in her adolescence and was turned away by everyone in her community. Unfortunately, Brynn never actually gets to deal with her considerable trauma and instead becomes part of a colonizing machine for reasons not explained – maybe the aliens feel bad for her, or maybe they want to weaponize her trauma. Whatever it is, I think the scariest part of the film is Brynn’s acceptance of this false life as a replacement for the total isolation and contempt forced upon her by her community.
Although Dever’s performance is varied and believable, the twists of No One Will Save You were not enough to stand out from other and better alien films. The alien design was rather cheesy and the one real line of dialogue didn’t pack as much of an emotional punch as it could have. Honestly, No One Will Save You feels like it should have come out a couple of years ago, as the small cast and themes of isolation are perfect for a “COVID” film.
The final act of the film is all over the place. It ties together Brynn’s traumatic past with the reveal of the alien’s intention on Earth. But really, why would these colonizing aliens sympathize so much with Brynn that they leave her free from their control? Sure, she can never do anything about their invasion and seems happy enough to live out an entire fantasy with barely-there humans. But is the film saying that her trauma makes her susceptible to this surveilled life? Or is it a commentary on the role that white women specifically play in colonization? There’s enough ambiguity in No One Will Save You for different interpretations to arise, but ultimately the cramped third act focuses more on the spectacle of the film than any deeper social critique.
I could certainly be reading into No One Will Save You a bit too much. While I do have questions and some criticisms about the film, it is still a rather original take on preceding films and TV shows about aliens on Earth, such as Arrival, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, and The X-Files. No One Will Save You blends the fears of home invasion (especially centering a young woman who lives alone) with the paranoia that arises in conversation with aliens on Earth for a rather entertaining film.
Unfortunately, it looks like Hulu has no intention of releasing No One Will Save You in theaters. It was an interesting watch at home, but the praise and conversations surrounding the film prove that it would have been even better on a big screen. Still, catch this one on Hulu and see if you agree with Stephen King (or not)!