For Brian Duffield's horror, sci-fi thriller movie, No One Will Save You, Kaitlyn Dever is left alone to deal with an alien invasion in her childhood home, in one of the most unique films we've seen in a long time.
"I started with this young woman who had a complicated backstory, and had built this kind of isolated world for herself," Duffield told Yahoo Canada. "I didn't know she was in an alien movie, I just kind of really liked this idea and this character."
"I had this other idea for an alien movie and then I think I kind of rudely married them, because I liked the idea of this person kind of living her own life and her own story. Then these aliens don't care and they just kind of walk in. It felt like a really interesting way to take this isolated character and kind of put them through a global event."
Duffield wastes absolutely no time throwing the audience into the action with Dever's character Brynn coming face-to-face with the aliens just minutes into the film. With a runtime just over 90 minutes, Duffield makes the most of every second.
"I like short movies, so there's that. But I think more than just being short, just really wanting it to be the kind of movie [where] you're just a little exhausted," he said. "I just wanted to be relentless and a lot of the movies I love ... have no fat on the bone."
'It wasn't about being cute and gimmicky'
One thing that particularly stands out in No One Will Save You is that there is barely any dialogue. Even more interesting is Duffield didn't necessarily mandate that be the case throughout the movie.
"I didn't know there'd be so little dialogue until I was deep into writing the script and just kind of surprised myself," Duffield explained. "[Kaitlyn Dever] is by herself for a lot of the movie and as a writer, there's nothing more awful than writing out what someone says when they're by themselves."
"I just told her ... if she needs to articulate herself to just go for it. ... It wasn't about being cute and gimmicky. It was just about, this sucks for Brynn, she doesn't have electricity so she can't see what's happening on the news. So it kind of just stemmed more from that than anything else."
With extremely limited dialogue, the sounds in the film are critically important and incredibly specific, paired with the visual effects. No One Will Save You is the kind of movie that you'll want to watch with the volume all the way up, in a dark room, really immersing yourself in this world. Specifically, there was a goal to make sure that when the audience hears alien sounds, for example, it's specific to No One Will Save You, not from any other sci-fi or horror film.
But Duffield was particularly excited to bring the aliens, the greys, into his movie.
"Part of why I made it is because I really wanted to see the greys on screen," Duffield said. "I just love them and it felt like I had been deprived of them for a really long time."
"I think part of the exciting element of the movie, that makes it so unique, is that we really tried to build out their culture. And we might not understand in the context of the movie exactly what their culture is, but we talked about it a lot. About what the hierarchy was. About their weird religion. About what their motivations were and I think part of the horror for Kaitlyn's character is that she can tell that there is a thing going on. ... Sometimes they're more curious about items in the house than they are about her, and having it feel like there's so much above her."
'She's a lifelong powerhouse'
Throughout the film, Dever proves how great she is as an actor, with all the emotional impact of the film really on her shoulders, and she absolutely delivers.
As Duffield highlighted, he was "nervous" about the film being so centred around one character, before Dever came on board. But after he "didn't think about it at all."
"So much of it is just trying to not let her down," Duffield said. "She's a lifelong powerhouse and with Kaitlyn, it's so easy, because she can just turn it on so quick."
"A lot of the talk we had was just about ... the backstory. We never got super elaborate, ... but it was just kind of making sure we were really tracking that emotionally throughout the movie. She's such a specific actor. It's crazy. Sometimes, just in the course of editing, shots might get stolen from here and put over there, and she could always tell instantly. She's like, 'That's not quite the performance I was giving in this moment.' ... She is a finely tuned actor with a crazy recollection of every take and every idea."
While we won't spoil the ending of the film, we will tease that there's certainly a shift in tone, and it's a bold choice that works in Duffield's favour. As the movie progresses, we start to learn more about Brynn's personal life and why she's so isolated, which culminates in this powerful ending.
"I was like, that's pretty bold and we'll probably get shot down by a studio, and I eventually caved and I wrote it," Duffield said. "It never became an issue, everyone was always like, 'Of course that's the ending.' I don't think I talked about it once."
"It was a different tone and I liked that it was an ending that I had not seen in a movie like this before."
How to watch 'No One Will Save You' in Canada
No One Will Save You is available to stream on Disney+ in Canada, beginning Sept. 22.