Let's be honest: Aliens in Hollywood are played out.
There's not much new under the sun when it comes to sci-fi films centered around UFOs/UAP and alien abductions, although director Jordan Peele did a fine job with last year's "Nope" by giving the subgenre an unexpected cryptozoological twist.
Today, another fresh take on alien invasions lands as the non-traditional, atmospheric project from writer/director Brian Duffield titled "No One Will Save You" arrives exclusively at Hulu. The film offers an exhilarating examination of alien invasions as a resourceful girl faces off against serious extraterrestrial threats and has virtually no dialogue.
Here's the film's official synopsis:
"'No One Will Save You' introduces Brynn Adams (Kaitlyn Dever), a creative and talented young woman who's been alienated from her community. Lonely but ever hopeful, Brynn finds solace within the walls of the home where she grew up — until she's awakened one night by strange noises from decidedly unearthly intruders. What follows is an action-packed faceoff between Brynn and extraterrestrial beings who threaten her future while forcing her to deal with her past."
This terrifying Hulu Original sci-fi thriller also stars Ginger Cressman, Jack Duhame, Geraldine Singer and Dari Lynn Griffin.
Writer/director Brian Duffield might not be a household name yet, but if you're a science fiction and horror movie fan you've probably admired some of his handiwork in Netflix's 2017 teen slasher film "The Babysitter," or 2020's "Love and Monsters" and "Underwater," three highly underrated features for which he co-wrote the screenplays. The prolific filmmaker also directed 2020's "Spontaneous" and wrote and executive produced Netflix's fun animated King Kong prequel series "Skull Island."
Space.com connected with Duffield to learn about the origins of this unique alien intruder movie, working with his up-and-coming actress, and where the narrative inspirations arose from in crafting a provocative new alien encounter project.
Space.com: What was the core idea of "No One Will Save You" and when did it take root?
Brian Duffield: I wrote it at the end of 2019 before my previous movie had come out, and I was trying to figure out what that next thing should be. I had this character of a young recluse in mind and I couldn't figure out what to do with her until I grafted that story onto this alien idea.
Aliens travel light years to get here and you usually see them bopping around in the forest, but you never just see them just walk inside a house. Getting to Earth is very hard. Walking into a young woman's house who lives alone is not hard at all. It felt like a way to have that alien fun in a way that felt fresh, and also have aliens interact with this character's backstory and be curious about who this girl that's been giving them such a headache is. It was a nice handshake agreement between two ideas.
Space.com: Can you name your cinematic influences in crafting this sci-fi film?
Duffield: I was a teenager when M. Night Shyamalan rose to prominence and so "Signs" was a big movie for me. I'm also from Philadelphia so seeing this young guy do these "Twilight Zone"-style movies was really impactful and definitely became a part of my DNA. I think this movie has a lot in conversation with "Signs." I felt that this movie starts where "Signs" ends and that was kind of fun to kick off.
Space.com: In working with veteran composer Joseph Trapanese ("The Witcher") for the eerie original score, what musical tone and style were you going for to enhance the harrowing story?
Duffield: I work with Joe a lot, and when this came up I sent him the script and we talked and thought this would be really fun if there was music before we started shooting. So Joe wrote a bunch of music and he sent me an hour-long playlist and that became invaluable to myself and the cast and crew. It made everyone realize what the tone of the movie was. Brynn needed to have her own theme and the aliens needed their own kind of sound, but we wanted it to to feel organic and strange. He used really interesting instruments whose names I don't know, but it was really cool working on that score because it came out of the script, not the movie.
Space.com: How did the creature design and form language evolve for your hostile marauding aliens?
Duffield: DNEG did our creature effects. I'm a huge fan of The Greys and I love the design in that it's based a little bit in reality in terms of the Roswell of it all. I'm really liking "Invasion" and those aliens are very esoteric and very unique. Getting a lot of those types was great but sometimes I just want the T-Rex. I just want the classic. I felt like it had been so long since someone had given that to me. Also, knowing about the weird personal connection that Kaitlyn was going to have with the aliens, they needed a face that she could act opposite of with eyes and a mouth.
Space.com: What were some of the challenges of directing a film with zero dialogue and how did star Kaitlyn Dever adjust to those parameters?
Duffield: I didn't start writing it knowing that part of it, but it came out of her character being very isolated and very lonely. I wanted to do away with the TV broadcasting updates of what was going on and she doesn't get any exposition so that makes it scary and she really doesn't know what's going on. As a director it made me realize that I had to help steer this ship visually.
Kaitlyn was very excited about the challenge, and also she has a great scream. She loved the character and the idea of how physical the movie was going to be. She's running and fighting and dodging and she was really hungry for that kind of performance. Her face is very open and expressive so she can really let you know what she's thinking with just a glance. I wish I could make it sound like she made my life hard, but she's such a pro. It was very easy and she's instantly good.
"No One Will Save You" premieres exclusively on Hulu on Sept. 22, 2023.