Cinema/TV, Film Notes

Film review – Save Yourselves! (2020)

Save Yourselves! (2020)

My notes (spoilers) on Save Yourselves!

Written and directed by Alex Huston Fischer and Eleanor Wilson, Save Yourselves! drops a neurotic Brooklyn couple out of an indie comedy-drama – hyper-connected Su (Sunita Mani) and breadmaking slacker Jack (John Reynolds) – into an alien invasion movie.  The couple, stressed by urban living, take a week’s break from being online and retreat to an upstate cabin … which means they miss the news that the Earth has been invaded by Critter-Tribble types.  They mistake the first specimen for a pouffe, but eventually twig that the literally gas-guzzling furballs are dangerous, fast and (bizarrely) hallucinogenic, which prompts them to assess their own uselessness in a changed world and at least try to adapt.

Mani and Reynolds are likeable but believable as smart airheads and their reactions are refreshingly different from most movie survivalists – when Su kills an alien with an axe she isn’t exhilarated but depressed, and when a callous old woman steals their car and leaves them to die they’re just disappointed rather than vengeful.  Yes, with all their crystals and browser tabs and social media chatter, the couple are foolish and represent a type that’s easy to caricature, but they’re also decent, loving, and committed to each other in a way that’s also unusual – too many films treat arguments as an excuse for nasty one-liners and a precursor of a catastrophic break-up, but Jack and Su only squabble because they ‘want to be a better us’ and I ended up more invested in them than in, say, the family from The Quiet Place.

It’s a low-budget film, a two-handed for most of its running time, with a lot of overhead drone shots of the peaceful woods and only a few hints of the mass violence being visited on the rest of the planet.  The monsters are appealingly odd, too – reminiscent occasionally of the killer tomatoes, the silicates from Island of Terror or the beachball creature from Dark Star but also innocent-enough looking to squat in a room disguised as novelty furniture.  The ambiguous ending plays well – as the couple, along with a baby they’ve saved, are harvested in a pod that’s lured them close by offering a WiFy signal but drift up serenely to an unknown fate, still mildly optimistic.



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