The conversation around No One Will Save You began almost as soon as the film appeared on Hulu last week. Fueled by strong early reviews and an intriguing trailer, it inspired early viewers to effusively post about it online, which in turn led to a word of mouth wave that included admirers like Guillermo del Toro and Stephen King. Google the film and you’ll also find an assortment of spoiler-friendly interviews with writer/director Brian Duffield and ending explainers, the sort of post-release pieces usually reserved for films that play theaters.
No One Will Save You isn’t the first streaming release to receive that treatment, but it still feels like a turning point. While theaters remain stuck in a post-summer lull — last week’s highest profile new release was Expand4bles — the film confirmed that people want to watch and discuss movies in all seasons, just not the movies currently at the local multiplex. Which, even this deep into an era dominated by streaming services, still feels odd. Why is the hottest movie of the moment playing on your TV screen?
No One Will Save You plays well at home, which can be a perfectly fine place to watch a suspense-and effects-filled thriller. But it would undoubtedly play even better in theaters, with the palpable tension that comes from watching a movie of its ilk with a crowd. It feels against the natural order of the movie-release universe for No One Will Save You to have its moment on the small screen.
The film stars Kaitlin Dever as Brynn, a seamstress who lives alone in her family’s country house. But her isolation is more than physical: due to a long-ago incident, the details of which aren’t revealed until later in the film, she’s shunned by others in her community. No one talks to her. Apart from one memorable moment, no one in the film really talks at all, a device Duffield uses to pare the film down to its basic elements as Brynn is forced to fight for her life against alien invaders. Beyond that novel feature, No One Will Save You explores themes of guilt and empathy before ending with a coda that, under other circumstances, would prompt a lot of chatter in the lobby after the show about what happened and what it meant.
It’s an unusual film, which makes its bypassing of theaters part of an annoying trend. The summer of Barbenheimer has served as a reminder that moviegoers are open to, even eager for, movies that go beyond the tried and tested (and the flagging fortunes of some long-running franchises suggested that familiarity has its downside). Surely No One Will Save You could have found a place in the September releases alongside The Nun II.