It might be pretty deep into Brian Duffield’s alien home invasion thriller No One Will Save You before you realize something pretty big about it. The lead character, Brynn, hasn’t said a word. As extraterrestrials bust into the isolated home where the young woman lives alone, the lack of dialogue adds an extra layer of creepiness to an enjoyable sci-fi horror from a filmmaker who has proven to be one of the best at it.
There aren’t many actors expressive enough to do an entire movie without saying a word. Fortunately for Duffield, he’s got Kaitlyn Dever, who can say more with the slightest facial expression than most can with their entire bodies. Duffield doesn’t screw around, either. He puts her through the emotional wringer early and often. Dever plays Brynn, who has just moved into her childhood home, where she spends the days alone making dresses, playing with a model village, eyeballing her neighbors, and writing to an old friend. It’s clear that Brynn is hiding a terrible secret. The people of this community seem to hate her for some reason. At one point, Brynn even gets spat on simply trying to get some help.
Help from what? Well, the extraterrestrial that has broken into her home. It does it rather matter-of-factly, too. One night it just busts right in and starts freaking Brynn out. This thing will make your skin crawl, too. It has long skinny legs and toes, and can contort its body in grotesque ways. The screechy gurgling noise it makes sounds worse when you consider the lack of human dialogue.
Now, you might be thinking the dialogue-free thing is just a gimmick. But I assure you it isn’t. That you don’t really notice it for so long, and don’t miss it once you do, proves that Duffield knows what he’s doing. In fact, he continually finds ways to maintain the status quo that don’t feel cheap. You don’t find yourself asking why people aren’t talking. It all makes sense, and you’re too preoccupied with the alien threat to notice.
As for that alien menace, Duffield continually expands it until things grow out of control. Of course, Brynn can’t get help because the people won’t even speak to her, so she has to survive on her own. Dever is excellent in capturing Brynn’s isolation, fear, but also her resolve and the guilt she’s carrying. The mystery surrounding Brynn unfolds neatly without becoming overbearing. We learn just enough when we need to know it, and the more we learn it affects our perception of everything Brynn has endured.
The only beef I could find with No One Will Save You is a pretty significant one, although something totally out of Duffield’s control. It’s clear this movie is running on a tight budget as some of the creature effects are weak, and the bland suburban setting doesn’t help. This is only Duffield’s second directorial effort, having mostly worked as a screenwriter on fun genre mash-ups such as personal favorite Love and Monsters, plus The Babysitter and the Kristen Stewart thriller, Underwater. His work is always slightly offbeat, reminding me to a lesser extent of Happy Death Day filmmaker Christopher Landon. Duffield’s a star on the rise and I for one can’t wait to see what he does next. Even as things get pretty insane in the final act, I was willing to see his choices through. No One Will Save You is a little bit A Quiet Place, a little bit War of the Worlds, and it should be top of your radar to watch from the comfort of home as Halloween comes around.
No One Will Save You is streaming now on Hulu.