‘No One Will Save You’ – Brian Duffield Talks Elaborate Alien Mythology and Avoiding Familiar Tropes [Interview]

Up next from filmmaker Brian Duffield (Spontaneous) is No One Will Save You, an intense sci-fi psychological thriller that begins streaming September 22, exclusively on Hulu.

The film introduces Brynn Adams (Kaitlyn Dever), a creative and talented young woman who’s been alienated from her community. And that’s before she’s awoken one night to actual aliens that have invaded her home.

For the film’s release, Bloody Disgusting spoke with Duffield about creating the intense sci-fi home invasion thriller, one that’s so packed with propulsive action that you don’t realize it’s largely devoid of dialogue. 

That wasn’t something that Duffield initially planned when writing the genre-bender. 

The filmmaker explains, “It was about halfway into writing it. I didn’t realize it for a long time, then I did, and then I was embarrassed that I didn’t realize it for that long. And then I was like, ‘Well, maybe that’s also how people will experience it.’ It became this very funny afterthought that stemmed out of Brynn a lot. And also knowing I didn’t want to do the TV’s explaining what was going on kind of thing. It was a nice surprise. No pun intended, I don’t remember talking about it that much.”

Brian Duffield and Kaitlyn Dever BTS

(L-R): Director/Writer Brian Duffield and Kaitlyn Dever on the set of 20th Century Studios’ NO ONE WILL SAVE YOU, exclusively on Hulu. Photo by Sam Lothridge. © 2023 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

No One Will Save You features Duffield’s take on the quintessential Grey aliens and then some. It brings the realization of how scarce the niche subgenre of sci-fi is, with only a handful of familiar Grey alien features that come to mind, like Signs. When asked if he purposefully tried to avoid retreading familiar ground when writing this feature, he cited a specific film.

The biggest thing to steer clear of was Fire in the Sky’s abduction scene because it’s so scary. It’s not like rated-R graphic, but it has a real viscerality to it. That was one thing I said, ‘I’m not going near that kind of world.’ Beyond that, you have Close Encounters, which is not scary. The abduction is crazy, but you’re not seeing anything. Then you have stuff like X-Files. But even that, there’s not so much that you need to keep in mind. Again, it wasn’t like I was avoiding Fire in the Sky; it was just in the writing process where I was like, ‘I don’t want to go near that. I like Brynn way too much to watch that.’

“It’s so fun in Fire in the Sky because it’s that dude. But I think if it was Kaitlyn Dever in Fire in the Sky, it’d just be miserable. So, that was more of a tone thing. She gets her ass kicked throughout this movie, but trying to make sure it was on the tone of it not being the movie you wanted to stop watching because it was just a little too hard against her. So, finding that tone. In terms of the iconography, I wanted it to feel like the Greys were smart. I felt like a lot of the movies get very hissy with Greys or get very monster, and you have a hard time connecting the dots between that creature and something that could fly an intergalactic ship. I think a big part of it was trying to give the Greys in the movie, at least, a real elegance, that you’re realizing, ‘Oh, they’re really smart.’” 

No One Will Save You Dever versus Aliens

Kaitlyn Dever as Brynn Adams in 20th Century Studios’ NO ONE WILL SAVE YOU, exclusively on Hulu. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. © 2023 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

Naturally, the aliens don’t speak human language, meaning No One Will Save You relies on sound and visual clues to tease their background. Duffield created a very expansive mythology behind his aliens.

He explains, “I went deep, yeah. No, they all have names. There’s a whole religion. I mean, I know how they breed. I went all deep into it; it was really fun. And then part of that was just great in terms of even our sound design. It was just fun to say, ‘This is what they’re saying now.’ I didn’t write dialogue, but in talking with Chris [Terhune] and Will [Files], our sound guys, it was like, ‘This is what they’re saying, and then it needs to get repeated enough times that Kaitlyn can kind of understand that they’re repeating something.’ Part of the terror is she doesn’t know what they’re saying, but she knows they’re saying it multiple times. And that being something you’re picking up, it’s a language, and there’s a music to it. And it’s not just growls and clicks; there’s a real process behind it.

“Like we talked about, there’s usually more than one tone that they vocalize at once, and we said each tone is like a sentence. With people, we talk in sentences, and the aliens are speaking in paragraphs at every moment, and so just that download of information. Even if Kaitlyn could understand it, the subtitle block would be big. That was part of the fun; at every turn, how do you make it feel like it’s an insurmountable problem for Kaitlyn to deal with these guys because they are smarter than her? She can get lucky, but there’s never a moment where you’re saying, ‘Oh, she’s going to nuke the ship.'”

See just how insurmountable Brynn’s survival against the Greys becomes when No One Will Save You releases on Hulu on September 22, 2023.

No One Will Save You Poster

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