‘No One Will Save You’ explores the terror of your 20s in a mildly scary alien flick

Oct. 12, 2023, 1:12 a.m.

No one really talks about the lack of emotional support available in your 20s. After a bad day, you don’t have parents tending to your needs or a spouse waiting for you at home. Your parents may say comforting words over the phone, but inevitably hang up in the end; your friends might bring you soup when you’re sick, only to leave afterward.

Hulu’s new alien invasion horror flick “No One Will Save You” confronts this fact of young adult life. The film follows a young woman who must save herself from telekinetic aliens over and over again. And somehow, I related to that experience.

Brynn, a 20-something recluse, lives in her late mother’s home, alienated from the rest of the town as a result of a mysterious past event. She spends her days constructing a miniature model of the town and writing letters to her childhood friend Maude, who is later revealed to have died 10 years ago. Brynn hasn’t moved on since.

One night, a lanky humanoid alien breaks into her house, kicking off a series of terrifying encounters with the third kind (who politely come at her one at a time). Brynn fends them off with the items in her house, using a smattering of wits and summoning all the courage she has. Toss in every stereotype about aliens we’ve seen before — crescent crop circles, blue beams of light that transport people, giant buggy eyes — and we get a lackluster 90-minute film fit for streaming. 

The unique part of the film is that there’s almost no dialogue. It’s an intriguing artistic choice at first, ripe with the potential to challenge the horror genre, but loses its shine as the plot plods on. Brynn taking the Lord’s name in vain would have felt more satisfying than utter reticence in the face of danger. Kaitlyn Dever (Brynn) is a phenomenal actor, but she frustratingly spends most of her talent holding back her voice, cycling between gasping, panting and shaky breathing which grew tiring with each new alien encounter. The silence breaks at a pivotal point in the film, but the moment ultimately feels predictable and unsatisfying. 

The first half of the movie is genuinely nail-biting, heart-pounding and spine-tingling. There’s undeniable horror in an unseen creature lurking in your own home.

Once we see the aliens (in this case, CGI figures that look Mod Podged onto the screen), the movie falls into a predictable cycle: Brynn notices alien, alien notices Brynn, Brynn slowly backs away, some objects fly around and Brynn somehow manages to escape from the scene. This occurred so many times that the alien run-in scenes began to collapse into one common pattern — like the opposite of making a paper snowflake.

Still, this repetition of confrontation and near escapes serves to highlight the title of the film. No one is coming; Brynn has to save herself even though she’s at the edge of her sanity. She takes questionable actions many, many times (like practically holding a staring contest with an alien before taking off) but I rooted for her continued survival.

I can’t help but view Brynn as a reflection of myself and other people my age. On top of fighting for safety against another species, she carries a heavy emotional burden — and no one else, it seems, can save her from that. The inspiring journey of a young woman confronting her fears and weaknesses alone can not fail to tug at your heart. 

At the core of alien invasion stories lies the hope that the impossible is possible. Maybe we could shapeshift, manipulate time or read minds, if the right beings came down and showed us how. The visiting creatures in “No One Will Save You” grant one of these impossibilities to Brynn.

When it happens, it feels a bit like a cop-out for actually dealing with her emotional trauma. But the poor girl has gone through enough. Maybe she can be saved a little.

Editor’s Note: This article is a review and includes subjective thoughts, opinions and critiques.

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