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Let No One Will Save You Invade Your Horror-Loving Heart


Let No One Will Save You Invade Your Horror-Loving Heart

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Movies & TV Horror

Let No One Will Save You Invade Your Horror-Loving Heart


Published on October 2, 2023


No One Will Save You is a breath of fresh air. Or maybe more accurately: a blast of light from an alien ship, shining right in your face at 3:00 in the morning. As I’ve written before on this site, nothing scares me. Things upset me occasionally, sure, but I never feel genuine fear during a movie.

And I didn’t really get scared during this one… but I did lean forward at a couple key moments.

Now here in a safe non-spoiler paragraph I’ll say that Kaitlyn Devers’ performance as Brynn is perfect. There wasn’t a single false moment. I was totally involved, totally with her, empathizing and rooting for her all the way, even as more layers were revealed.

Brian Duffield’s script is, well. Here. Here’s a page from the script.

And his direction is equally gripping, with shadows and slow reveals, tight angles, camera moves and sound cues all work together like a vise squeezing the audience’s collective head in a good way. I didn’t notice any of it as I was watching, I just realized that I was holding my breath a few times.

It’s also a beautiful work of gradual, cumulative storytelling. Each scene is packed with detail that shows us who Brynn is, why she is who she is, and how that’s going to help or hurt her battle with the aliens. Looking back, I realize I only know a few bare facts about her life, but I feel like I know her.

And the more I think about it, No One Will Save You is what I wanted A Quiet Place to be. It’s an incredible work of horror, great for an October movie night, frightening and exhilarating, and while it works on a couple layers, the surface level scary movie is beautiful, and doesn’t really need any analysis. (I mean, I’m gonna analyze it in another paragraph, but I mean you can watch it without thinking about any of the deeper layers if you want to.) My only sadness is that I didn’t get to see it in the theater with other freaked-out people because that would have been brilliant. And having done everything short of come to your house and put it on your television for you, I will now say: it’s time to dig into some layers. Don’t read further until you’ve seen the movie! You want to go into this one cold, believe me!

(Seriously, spoilers ahead!)

Credit: 20th Century Studios

OK, ready? You’ve seen it?

When the movie ended, I typed these words: “No One Will Save You is the opposite of the ‘religion/alien’ movie.”

What that means: I’ve been thinking a lot lately about works that explore “religious” themes using the tropes and imagery of alien invasion. Signs, Nope, Close Encounters, War of the Worlds, Asteroid City (a little bit), The X-Files. I had a vague idea of putting No One Will Save You in conversation with those movies (and TV show), but then Guillermo del Toro did this:

He just… he just tweeted it out.

(I love Guillermo del Toro.)

And then my friends posted the tweet in our groupchat and tagged me.

(I love my friends.)

But in the interest of doing my job even though the director of Pan’s Labyrinth and Crimson Peak kinda already did it…

“No One Will Save You” is a very pointed title. I love the idea that this movie that seems like one story—taut alien invasion horror—turns into something else—an allegory about healing and forgiveness. No One Will Save Brynn from the aliens, because her best friend and mother are both dead, and the police chief hates her, thus none of the cops will help. The neighbors all seem to shun her in a Shirley Jackson-esque way. (The idea that people still shun her 12 years after an impulsive, childish action makes me want to start throwing rocks, but whatever.)

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She tries to escape on the bus, but running away won’t save her either, the aliens body snatch other passengers to drive her back into the town.

She tries the sanctuary of church—this is, in fact, the only building she seeks shelter in. But the doors are locked, and if anyone’s in there, they don’t bother to open the door to her. We see a moment later that her friend is buried in the church’s graveyard, so… this is the church that the police chief and his wife attend? Maybe Brynn and her mother were members, before The Incident? Maybe Brynn hasn’t been welcome back in the decade since, forgiveness be damned.

All of her attempts to barricade the house come to naught, her attempts to fight the aliens are surprisingly effective, but they still overpower her in the end and force a mind-control bezoar (!!!) down her throat. In the haze of the bezoar, Maude appears before her and she seeks her friend’s forgiveness, but that, too, is an illusion.

The core of the problem is that the only one who can save Brynn is Brynn. And, as Mr. del Toro points out, the only way she gets there is through pain. Maybe it didn’t have to be that way, maybe some people could do this work another way, but this modern Cain and Abel fable chooses its path and walks it. In the last 20 minutes of the film I got a little annoyed with it. Surely, she couldn’t still be walking. Surely, she couldn’t still be conscious. This was stretching reality too far, we needed to be grounded in her physical reality for the sci-fi of the alien invasion to work, blah blah blah. But then I realized I was missing the point.

She has to go through the pain to exhaust herself. She has to give up, embrace the futility of fighting back, fight back anyway, and finally feel like she’s expiated her sin. Only then, after all that, can she see herself clearly, look at her younger self, writing letters to Maude, and fully love the girl she was and the adult she is now.

Leah Schnelbach was so freaking excited when they realized they’d leaned forward, you have no idea. Come talk to them in the place that used to be called Twitter.

About the Author

Leah Schnelbach


Intellectual Junk Drawer from Pittsburgh.
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