NO ONE WILL SAVE YOU Review: Close Encounters of the Silent Kind
Kaitlyn Dever gives a bravura performance in a new thriller by Brian Duffield, now streaming on Hulu in the U.S., Star+ in Latin America, and Disney Plus in Canada and all other territories.
Sometimes, it's entirely up to you.
We can all feel isolated from others at times, perhaps even completely alienated, especially if we live alone.
Brynn (Kaitlyn Dever) is such a person. She lives alone in a big house on a big piece of land in a beautiful wooded rural area, a few miles from the closest town. She keeps herself busy, writing to her absent younger sister Maude and tending to her collection of small toy houses. She visits her mother's gravesite on a regular basis.
Otherwise, she keeps to herself, and for good reason: her closest neighbor is none-too-pleased to catch even a glimpse of her, and the mail delivery person appears to take delight in his none-too-gentle handling of her latest postal arrival. All that changes late one night when strangers come a-calling.
The strangers are not the usual home invaders, however, intent on robbing or harming Brynn. Instead, they are visitors from another planet.
(Note: this is not a spoiler. It happens within the first 10 minutes of the movie.)
What follows after that is entirely surprising, deftly plotted by writer Brian Duffield and superbly staged by director Brian Duffield, elevated by a bravura performance by Kaitlyn Dever, who is, not just likable, but entirely empathetic as a young woman who is forced to defend herself, entirely alone, against mysterious, powerful invaders, without any support from anyone else.
The original script, of course, is where it all begins. Brian Duffield has demonstrated his bonafides as a writer with Underwater (2020), co-written with Adam Cozad, and Skull Island (2023), an animated series he created and wrote. (I was not so enamored with the tasteless The Babysitter (2017), directed by McG, and have yet to see Love and Monsters (2020) or Spontaneous (2020), the latter of which marked his directorial debut.)
Wavering just a little in sticking its landing, No One Will Save You establishes him further as a force in genre films. Both his script and his direction suggest that he's well aware of the sources that have influenced him in both horror and science-fiction thrillers; the latter most clearly demonstrated in the film's narrative, fleshing out the 'aliens take the little boy from his house' scene in Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) as a framing structure for the entire movie.
Duffield, however, goes beyond his influences to dig into Brynn as a character. What would cause a young, bright and creative person, without an apparent disabling disorder, shy away from others? What makes them repulsed at the sight of her?
That, then, motivates her actions throughout the movie, along with the disabling of communication devices and motor vehicles by the home invaders. How do you overcome that in a logical and thoughtful manner? How does anyone defend themselves against deadly forces without the use of firearms?
Ultimately, whether Duffield answers all these questions is left to the viewer. By that point, though, Kaitlyn Dever had completely won over any reservations I might have had.
Kaitlyn Dever is a force unto herself, as she has already proven in role after role, including her heartbreaking performance in Dopesick (2021) and her swashbuckling romantic antics in Rosaline (2022),
both are which are now* streaming on Hulu. Her winning streak continues here as a woman who is rightfully afraid yet steadfastly determined to never give in, even to forces that are beyond her control.
* Correction: Earlier this year, Rosaline was removed from streaming on Hulu. Thanks to Scott Weinberg for pointing this out.
No One Will Save You
- Brian Duffield
- Brian Duffield
- Kaitlyn Dever
- Ginger Cressman
- Zack Duhame