Writer/director Brian Duffield explains why No One Will Save You’s shocking ending didn’t see Kaitlyn Dever’s Brynn killed by the invading aliens.
- Brynn’s survival in the ending of No One Will Save You is explained by the writer/director Brian Duffield as the aliens being intrigued to learn from her and not inherently wanting to wipe out humanity.
- Brynn’s death in the finale would have undone the growth she experienced throughout the film, making for a “bleak” horror ending.
- The movie’s ending, with Brynn surviving and the aliens being interested in her culture, carries a message that grace and salvation can emerge from pain and suffering.
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As audiences continue to debate the themes behind the alien horror movie’s finale, writer/director Brian Duffield is explaining why Brynn survived the invasion in No One Will Save You‘s shocking ending. The sci-fi thriller centers on Kaitlyn Dever’s young seamstress whose life of quiet isolation is upended when alien beings invade her small town. Helmed by Spontaneous‘ Brian Duffield in his second directorial outing, the movie has garnered largely positive reviews from critics, though recently fell to a Rotten rating from audiences on Rotten Tomatoes.
Following the movie’s acclaimed Hulu premiere, Fangoria caught up with Duffield to break down No One Will Save You‘s ending. When questioned why the aliens didn’t kill Brynn, in spite of her reliatory actions, the writer/director reveals part of the reason stemmed from having to come to love the character, while also feeling that the beings were not inherently looking to wipe out humanity, and as such were intrigued to learn more from her than to do away with her entirely. See Duffield’s explanation below:
I think she’s not articulating with them, but I think they’re definitely communicating. I don’t think they’re speaking human yet, but there’s a version of the ending where you can imagine that she’s the cute schoolteacher that’s teaching them “A, B…” That felt like a bridge too far, but I do like the idea that they’re eager to learn from her in that version of the ending, and that they’re eager to spend time with her. It’s like, sometimes you just want to be quiet with somebody, y’know? I think having these people, they’re acting very different towards her at the end than they were throughout the movie, and that must be really nice. That was what I wanted for her. And I could have had dialogue at the end, but it also felt like it’d be a little bit of a bummer if everyone’s just chatting, if she were just talking to everybody. But again, in terms of the character payoff, it did feel like there needed to be something communal happening at the end…And then on top of that, I think that the aliens … well, let me put it like this: if you get bit by a stray dog, a lot of people would want to see the dog put down, but you’d also have people that would want to sit with the dog and calm it down and talk to it, to see if maybe the dog can be rehabilitated and become a valuable member of society. I think that is, partially, how the aliens were viewing us. And so, anything that someone did that hurt an alien, I think they viewed as something of an occupational, “We’re at war” kind of thing, collateral damage, even if the war is one day long. They’re pleasantly surprised by [Brynn], and they’re really interested in people, in an anthropological way. They’re like, “This is a very interesting culture, and we’ve conquered it, but that doesn’t mean we have to erase it!” Culture is art and life, and I think about how we had the Daddy Long Legs singing [Brynn’s] song. He’s probably thinking, “We don’t have music like this,” and the aliens are like, “Ooh, this is interesting!” In my heart, I think there’s probably other [Brynns] scattered around the world, and I liked the idea of [aliens] being like, “We’re here. We’ve won. And hey, you’re kind of into it? Teach us. What can we learn?” Y’know, I think a lot of the alien movies I love are the ones where they’re not linear. Like, I love Under The Skin, which feels very alien to me, but there’s clearly a methodology and plan in place [among the aliens in that movie]. Obviously, that movie’s a lot more arthouse than this one is, but I wanted that same feeling of, “These are f—-ng aliens. They don’t have to think like us, and we don’t have to understand.” Typically, that means a very negative thing, that we can’t understand what they’re doing. But I like the flip of that coin where it’s like: “I don’t understand this … but it could be a lot worse.”
Why Brynn’s Death Would’ve Ruined No One Will Save You’s Ending
As with many horror and home invasion thrillers, No One Will Save You‘s protagonist is put through the emotional and physical wringer come the end of its 93-minute runtime, with the final act revealing her tragic backstory of having accidentally killing her childhood best friend and thus becoming an outcast in her town. Much like Jordan Peele’s Nope and Dan Trachtenberg’s 10 Cloverfield Lane before it, the Hulu thriller may ramp up its alien action with high-octane set pieces pitting its human protagonist against the extraterrestrial threat, but never loses sight of the importance in the character arc it’s developed leading up to this.
Brynn is a tragic heroine, having to confront her guilt over killing her best friend rather than hide from it and the world as she has done in the years prior to the movie’s start. As such, should she have died in the movie’s finale, it would have largely undone the growth she experienced in the lead up to it, making for, as Duffield has previously noted, a “bleak” horror ending. While many acclaimed horror movies have still found meaningful ways to pull this off, ending on a somewhat brighter note does typically make for a more enjoyable outing for audiences as a whole.
Acclaimed filmmaker Guillermo del Toro has even shared his interpretation of the secret meaning behind No One Will Save You‘s ending, looking to the teachings of the Catholic dogma, namely the idea that “grace and salvation emerge from pain and suffering“. This interpretation was even met with enthusiasm from Duffield, who recalled his own past as a “missionary kid” during his upbringing in Ireland, thus further solidifying the ideal that Brynn’s death would’ve undermined the harrowing journey she endured.