A little company might’ve been nice. But not this sort of company.
For ever so long, Brynn has lived by her lonesome in a place almost frozen in time. She works as a seamstress, sewing together vintage-style dresses. Her spare time is spent building and refining a miniature townscape, full of lights and color and happy, happy figurines. She eats alone, drinks alone and dances alone—following an imaginary partner as gentle tunes from the 1950s jingle on.
She must leave the house occasionally. She always dresses her best. She practices her warmest, most welcoming smiles. But no one smiles in return. No one talks to her—unless it’s to whisper as she walks away.
But Brynn’s used to it. She has her home, her dresses, her miniature town. It’s enough—even if there are moments when she’d like to share it with someone.
And then they come.
They aren’t from around little Mill River, no siree. They’re out-of-towners, out-of-staters, out-of-this-worlders. And one—at least one—is in Brynn’s house.
He—it—has ashen-gray skin. Oil-black eyes. Finger-like toes. Branch-like fingers. Oh, and the ability to move things with a nod. A gesture. A twitch.
It has no regard for Brynn’s miniature town, which it overturns and smashes to pieces. It cares not a whit for her dresses or music. But it does want her. Without touching Brynn with its hands, it still drags her across the floor. It stands her up straight. It wheels her around and—
Well, let’s not spoil anything just yet, shall we?
[But be warned—almost everything after the 20-minute mark feels like a spoiler in this film; some spoilage, I’m afraid, is unavoidable, especially in the Violent Content section.]
No One Will Save You is focused squarely, and in many ways solely, on Brynn and her life-or-death battle with her alien interlopers. If no one can save her (as the title suggests), she’s in no position to save anyone else. But she does fight like the dickens to save herself—and that’s worth something. And she shows surprising tenderness to one of her vanquished enemies.
But the film isn’t just about Brynn’s frenetic present and her not-so-certain future. It’s about her past, too. The story suggests that it’s important to make peace with one’s past, and to ask for forgiveness when necessary.
We may see a bit of mercy from an unexpected quarter, though that might be up to interpretation.
Brynn finds a church—and finds it locked.
The ideas of confession, apology and forgiveness are important here, which gives some scenes an extra spiritual tang.
Aliens can appear to possess and control humans.
Brynn’s visitors appear to be your semi-standard gray alien: They have no clothes, but no genitals, either.
Brynn showers, and we see a bit of her shoulders. She dances with a man and woman, though other elements in the film suggests it’s not meant to convey romantic intent.
This whole section might be the most spoilery in the review. So before we dive into specifics, let me give you a general overview in this paragraph in case you want to skip down: Sentient beings die and get injured. Blood—or its alien equivalent—is shed. People are pulled and thrown and hit. The movie never pushes its PG-13 rating in its violence, but it can be jarring and, sometimes, grotesque.
OK, you’ve been warned.
Brynn’s first encounter with an alien leaves her bare feet covered with scratches and gashes. (She pulls a small piece of glass out of one such wound.) She later suffers a variety of other bodily indignities, and her face is mottled by bruises and cuts near the end. She’s psychically pulled and thrown and pinned to a ceiling—ultimately falling to the floor. A door smashes into her head, and she bleeds from the resulting gash; later, when she takes a shower, blood runs into the drain at her feet.
Someone is stabbed in the gut. Someone else’s throat is stabbed. Another person is hit in the head with a rock. Human bodies can bend and contort in deeply unnatural and disturbing ways. Brynn visits a couple of gravesites.
An alien gets stabbed in the head and dies. Another is skewered with a broken mop handle, then has its head smashed with a door. (It appears to survive the attack.) A third is killed in a fiery explosion. (We see its burning corpse.) A creature jumps from a rooftop, and the fall seems to stun it for a bit.
The film introduces us to another sort of entity, though—tentacled parasites (it would seem) that enter a body through the mouth and then seem to take over the creature. We see them do their thing—and occasionally their tentacles can be seen squirming underneath skin. One parasite is squeezed pretty hard, but it still survives.
There are only about five words of real dialogue in the movie. None are profanities. But Brynn does include a misuse of God’s name in a letter written to her best friend.
Brynn drinks a glass of wine.
Someone spits in Brynn’s face. A mailman, instead of putting a package gently by Brynn’s mailbox, pretends it’s a basketball and “shoots” it instead.
What makes a good movie?
A strong central character. A compelling adversary. A strong plot that pulls you along. All the better if it leaves you guessing about what comes next.
You don’t really need a lot of ancillary characters or exotic settings or layered geopolitical musings. You certainly don’t need sex or swear words.
By all of those measures, No One Will Save You is a good movie.
The film is like a 1960s street rod—stripped down, tuned up and wrenched into a lean, screaming storytelling vehicle. It guns its engine and speeds through its 90-minute runtime with a sense of breathless confidence, holding its line through twists and turns and unexpected reversals. It’s clever and poignant and thrilling and, yes, quite good.
It’s also quite scary. And strange. And sometimes grotesque. Not gratuitously so, in my opinion, and it never pushes past its PG-13 bounds. Bloodshed is measured in tablespoons, not gallons.
But this movie has moments that will widen the eyes of even hardened horror fans, and a scene or two might send some right out of the living room. And the ending—well, let’s just say might have some viewers talking or thinking longer than they spent watching.
No One Will Save You is not for everyone. A sci-fi scarefest like this will be a non-starter in many a household. Still, this might be the shortest review I’ve written this year—in large part because there’s just not a lot of problematic content to tell you about.
For a horror flick to go light on the content and heavy on the chills? Yeah, that’s worth a pat on the back—even if that back is ashen gray.
Paul Asay has been part of the Plugged In staff since 2007, watching and reviewing roughly 15 quintillion movies and television shows. He’s written for a number of other publications, too, including Time, The Washington Post and Christianity Today. The author of several books, Paul loves to find spirituality in unexpected places, including popular entertainment, and he loves all things superhero. His vices include James Bond films, Mountain Dew and terrible B-grade movies. He’s married, has two children and a neurotic dog, runs marathons on occasion and hopes to someday own his own tuxedo. Feel free to follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.