Grey Day : Alien invasion Sci Fi Horror No One Will Save You, under the microscope.
Given the film’s poster, I don’t think it’s too much of a spoiler to say that this is an alien invasion movie.
The alien invasion movie has a long and distinguished film pedigree, going all the way back to the initial boom years of the 1950s: The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951); The War of the Worlds (1953); Earth Versus the Flying Saucers (1956); and Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956).
In more recent years, alien invasions have tended to settle into one of two camps – the global and spectacular – Independence Day; Mars Attacks; and Edge of Tomorrow – or small-scale, tight dramas, following small numbers of protagonists – Skyline; Cloverfield; and The Quiet Place.
No One Will Save You falls very firmly into the latter category.
Our heroine is Brynn, a seamstress who lives alone in her family home in a forest. Despite being on the outskirts of a small town, she lives the life of a hermit, as the inhabitants of the town shun her (more on that later).
Kaitlyn Dever’s portrayal of Brynn is a masterpiece performance. Clearly damaged, vulnerable, and obsessive – she has created a model town on the floor of her living room – all delivered with only five words of dialogue throughout the entire film. The only time I can remember anything comparable recently is Robert Redford’s All Is Lost (and that man can act a bit, too).
As I am a writer myself, I’ll confess to being a bit of a ‘dialogue addict’, so it’s interesting to watch such an extreme example of ‘how else to do it’. And the answer is: with an epically rich display of character acting that makes Dever’s heroine intriguing enough to follow even before we understand why she is the way she is.
Brynn is also noteworthy for her physical vulnerability. Writer / Director Brian Duffield resists the temptation to throw in some previous military training, and gives us instead a very ordinary woman, about to be faced with some terrifyingly extraordinary situations.
No One Will Save You starts off with some of the classic alien invasion tropes we have come to know and love: people acting oddly; disruptions to animal life and electronic equipment; and discoloured marks in the grass where craft have landed.
From there, we get briskly into the action, when a Greys-style alien breaks into Brynn’s house. Flung into a rollercoaster ride for survival, Brynn runs a gamut of alien variants before discovering the local human populace has been subjugated already (presumably the aliens do the outliers last!)
Despite its civilian heroine, No One Will Save You manages to present a series of well-executed, tense action sequences. In the end, the aliens are simply too powerful and too advanced to resist. Yet, rather than finish on the simple ‘down’ ending so common to this sub-genre, Duffield gives us something quite different: an ending that is simultaneously quite beautiful and heart-warming, yet chilling in its implications.
No spoilers on exactly how that is achieved, but it does play deliciously on the film’s title.
Critical and commercial response has been positive, and Brian Duffield has said he is open to developing a sequel, so who knows, we may yet see Still No One Will Save You…
No One Will Save You premiered in cinemas in the US in mid-September this year and went to streaming only a few days later. It is currently available on Disney+.
We’ll survive if we all just stick together!
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