No One Will Save You review

No One Will Save You is the viral alien invasion film everyone is watching

3.5 out of 5 stars

This week’s must-see streaming film, No One Will Save You, is the talk of the “Alien Invasion” town. The second directorial effort by Cocaine Bear producer Brian Duffield, No One Will Save You delivers a sci-fi horror experience bursting with potential. This Alien Home/Town Invasion flick with little to no dialogue might be good enough to inspire a new wave of visual storytelling projects. However, while impressive, it regrettably falls short of reaching the heights of what could have been a masterpiece.

As the film begins, Brynn, portrayed brilliantly by Kaitlyn Dever (Booksmart), lives in seclusion and builds her own little world within the confines of her home. But, her seemingly idyllic life takes a harrowing turn when her sanctuary is infiltrated by unearthly creatures. As she fights for survival, the film unravels her past and the enigmatic reasons behind her solitary existence.

No One Will Save You features very little exposition, relying instead on Kaitlyn Dever’s nuanced performance, meticulous sound design and engaging score to convey its story. The first act, centred on the invasion itself, skilfully builds tension using diegetic sound. Duffield leverages the house’s architectural features to evoke fear and amplify the suspense. His ingenious use of concealed nooks and crannies, coupled with the eerie interplay of distorted shadows and light reflections through windows and shattered glass transforms the once-charming daytime home into a chilling nightmare come nightfall.

Guillermo del Toro, the renowned master of cinematic craft, tweeted his admiration for the film. He praised its fun, smart and well-staged moments while acknowledging the difficulty of creating a no-dialogue film in the sound era. His endorsement highlights the film’s remarkable achievements and place among a rare breed of cinematic endeavours.   

As Brynn stealthily navigates her home, every creak and dial tone amplifies the suspense. At first, Brynn’s intelligence and resourcefulness endear her to the audience, but her storyline fails to pay off. As it stumbles on more and more missteps, the film misses opportunities for more scary, suspenseful moments, opting for repetitive sequences between Brynn and the aliens that diminish the fear factor. The alien character designs really worked for me, though. Not only do they delve deep into our collective unconscious of what an alien looks like, but they resurrect and elevate this iconic image of the “grey alien.” What sets it apart is its ability to transform this familiar image into something genuinely menacing and ominous. This blending of the familiar with the novel gives a unique stylistic quality to a film, making its character design and overall art design a fitting homage to the world of alien invasion cinema.

No One Will Save You strives to offer its audience more than just a typical alien home invasion storyline by incorporating a deeper, more intimate emotional subplot. However, due to the lack of narrative context, viewers are often left confused, and Brynn’s troubled past remains shrouded in mystery for far too long. This ambiguity ultimately hinders the emotional investment in her character. Unfortunately, by the time the film begins to reveal crucial information to the audience, it’s already too late to fully engage emotionally with the character and the overall narrative.

The film aims to explore themes of social alienation, unresolved trauma and the quest for redemption. Yet these elements remain underdeveloped, buried beneath the chaos of relentless and repetitive action sequences. No One Will Save You turns into a slow-burning race to an anticlimactic and strange cryptic finish. The creative intent is commendable, and Kaitlyn Dever’s performance carries the weight. However, the film’s execution fails to do justice to their potential.

No One Will Save You arrives at a time when wordless films are experiencing a resurgence; successful attempts are few, but significant. In other tweets by Del Toro praising the film, he mentions classics like The Thief and All Is Lost as examples of this challenging cinematic style. Sisu, from earlier this year, relied on a nearly wordless protagonist to effectively convey its themes and atmosphere. Minimal dialogue forces filmmakers to lean on the importance of audiovisual storytelling, where every image, sound, action and cut carries the weight of the narrative and creates a richer immersive cinematic experience, instead of the more common expository wordplay.

The announcement of John Woo’s upcoming film Silent Night, to be released this December after a two-decade hiatus from American cinema, marks a significant event. An action film devoid of dialogue hints at a potential resurgence of this unique genre. Could this be a part of a wave of wordless cinema, offering a promising avenue for fresh, more experimental cinematic experiences, compelling filmmakers to communicate through visuals and sound, and unveiling new dimensions of storytelling?

No One Will Save You is not without flaws. It’s a testament to the power of sound and visual storytelling and a reminder that silence can be just as impactful as words. No One Will Save You offers an intense and suspenseful experience, showcasing the potential of wordless cinema and hinting at a promising future for this unique stylistic cinematic choice. Despite its shortcomings, it’s a film that will make you jump, think and perhaps even shed a tear. Kaitlyn Dever’s outstanding performance and Brian Duffield’s bold storytelling and stylistic choices make it a noteworthy entry into the world of sci-fi alien invasion horror. ■

No One Will Save You is streaming in Canada on Disney Plus.

No One Will Save You, directed by Brian Duffield

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