Tag Archives: Brian Duffield

Stranger In My House

No One Will Save You

by George Wolf

No One Will Save You gives Brynn Adams – and us – just 12 minutes before uninvited friends come calling.

And in those 12 minutes, writer/director Brian Duffield utilizes some fine visual storytelling to set the stage.

Brynn (Kaitlyn Dever) lives by herself in a lovely country home. Brynn’s a simple homebody who likes simple charms like rotary phones and making beautiful crafts to sell. But in her small town of Mill River, Brynn is a pariah. Something very painful occurred there years ago, and the townsfolk are not shy about reminding Brynn that she was – and still is – to blame.

Brynn soon finds out that what’s worse than no one stopping by is a sudden alien invasion. Hide and seek soon turns to fight or flight, with Brynn struggling to stay alive and find anyone to help her. But as the title implies, Brynn has only herself to rely on.

Duffield (screenwriter for Underwater and The Babysitter, among others) rolls out story beats that recall Signs, It Follows, and The Babadook, while upping the A Quiet Place ante for a film that is 99.9% dialog-free.

In place of conversation, we get some very effective SFX work from James Miller’s sound department, and the always-welcome Dever delivering a physically demanding, sympathetic performance that wordlessly evokes desperation, sorrow and courage.

But as Brynn’s nightmare plays out, a stale air begins to creep in. The creature design is fairly generic, and more effective before we start to see them up close. Duffield’s extended metaphor has been done before and with more subtlety, though it’s rescued somewhat by a final twist from that Twilight-y Zone place.

Most of all, Hulu’s No One Will Save You is another example of a film that seems structured exclusively for a streaming algorithm. The action comes early, it’s repeated often enough that you can go feed the dog and not feel like you’ve missed anything, and the themes are obvious and easily digested.

Once again, it’s a formula that is tasty in spots, but far from filling.

Under the Sea


by Hope Madden

Kristin Stewart has been stretching.

Yes, she will probably forever be first known as that girl from Twilight, unfortunately. But, in the same way her ex-vampire lover Robert Pattinson has relentlessly carved a stronger impression via challenging independent film roles, Stewart has been honing her craft and developing a reputation as a solid talent via varying roles in small budget films.

The few dozen or so of us who saw her versatility over the last few years in Personal Shopper, JT LeRoy, Lizzie, Certain Women, Still Alice and Clouds of Sils Maria no longer think first of Twilight’s Bella Swan.

But Ellen Ripley?

William Eubank’s deep sea horror Underwater sees Stewart as Nora, a no-nonsense, quick thinking, fast acting survivor—the kind who just might keep the remaining crew alive as they try to make their way from an irreversibly damaged deep sea drill rig to a nearby vessel that might have pods to float them to safety.

But what caused the damage in the first place and what is making that noise?

Eubank has assembled a surprisingly solid cast for his “Alien Under the Sea” flick. Joining Stewart as the rig’s humbly heroic captain is the always excellent Vincent Cassel, while John Gallagher Jr. plays the latest in his long line of effortlessly likeable good guys, Smith. Chubby comic relief is delivered by T.J. Miller.

If that sounds like your basic set of recognizable stereotypes assembled to be picked off one by one, you’ve detected the first major problem with Eubank’s film: a breathtaking lack of originality.

The script, penned by Brian Duffield (The Babysitter) and Adam Cozad (The Legend of Tarzan), offers nothing in the way of novelty and much of the dialog is stilted, and Nora’s third act reveal of the emotional damage she must overcome is false and forced.

Luckily, Eubanks somehow convinced a bunch of genuinely talented actors to deliver these lines, so they mainly come off fine. And while the director frustratingly and consistently undercuts the claustrophobic tension he’s begun building, his monsters are pretty cool looking.

Stewart gets to try on the action hero role, and she’s not too bad. For a 95 minute sea monster movie, neither is Underwater. It’s not too good, either, but at least there are no sparkly vampires.