MOVIE "No One Will Save You"
WHERE Streaming on Hulu
WHAT IT'S ABOUT Kaitlyn Dever further establishes that she's one of the best up-and-coming actors around in "No One Will Save You," a new sci-fi horror movie.
She's not just the star and at the center of every scene; she's the only real character in the movie, and has to get through the entire picture with almost no dialogue.
Dever ("Dopesick," "Booksmart") plays Brynn. She's a 20-something who lives an isolated existence in her picturesque childhood home, located off a country road in what we'll call Middle of Nowhere, USA. Her mother has died, she has no one in her life, and can barely bring herself to leave home.
It turns out this has largely to do with a tragedy she suffered as a girl: the death of her best friend under circumstances that writer-director Brian Duffield painstakingly keeps under wraps.
So, when she's awakened one night by scary sensations, including ominous sounds and all the lights and devices at home suddenly turning on, "Poltergeist" style, and then discovers all this has been caused by a menacing alien, she's got no one to rely on but herself.
MY SAY This is one of those exceedingly rare movies, especially in the cookie-cutter streaming age, that would be at home in cinematic decades past. It really demands to be seen on the biggest possible screen.
That's because Duffield's movie relies on the power of its imagery, Dever's performance and its sound design, not its dialogue, heavy plotting or any of the other components that are not inherent to this visual medium.
Just one example: The filmmaker has little interest in explaining every last detail of this alien invasion, which turns out to have spread far beyond Brynn's home.
We know that these interstellar beings are vicious fighters and that they are in the business of possessing their human hosts. We spend a lot of time watching Brynn turn action hero, aggressively fighting back.
But we don't know why they're here or their ultimate plan. There are no media talking heads or other archetypes.
The imagery, interspersing the terrifying invasion with trips deep into Brynn's memories, and the soundscape create the atmosphere needed, one of genuine terror mixed with deep and fundamental emotional scarring.
The picture is less about the invaders than it is the extent their confrontation with this lonely person. She's overcome with grief and guilt, allowing her to finally face the trauma she's tried to suppress for so long.
Dever takes that essential element and builds out a compelling and empathetic character. She never loses sight of the truth of this person, even in the most intensely physical scenes.
Without much more than a single line of dialogue, we come to understand exactly who Brynn is and to recognize what it means to have survived so much.
BOTTOM LINE Dever is simply exceptional. And the movie as a whole is about as high quality of a genre picture as you could hope to find while scrolling through Hulu.