SAVE YOURSELVES! (2020)
Starring Sunita Mani, John Reynolds, Ben Sinclair, Jo Firestone, John Early, Gary Richardson, Johanna Day, Zenobia Shroff, Stephen Koepfer and Amy Sedaris.
Screenplay by Alex Huston Fischer and Eleanor Wilson.
Directed by Alex Huston Fischer and Eleanor Wilson.
Distributed by Bleecker Street Films. 93 minutes. Rated R.
I was nervous to watch Save Yourselves! – and only indirectly because of my fear of scary alien films.
The premise felt a little too cute… just a little too fun for 2020. Two Brooklyn hipsters embark on a one-week remote upstate New York cabin screen-time cleanse, unaware that the earth is under alien invasion.
I mean, every time I have mentioned this premise to someone, it has been incredible to watch their faces change. From the first three words (two Brooklyn hipsters… queue nose and eye crease wrinkle) to the middle mark (screen-time cleanse… nervous giggle ending in a small sigh) to the last two words (alien invasion… you can actually see the double take, the gleeful eye contact, and the final ooooohhh).
The way 2020 has been going, Save Yourselves! seemed too good to be true, always a recipe for disaster in my book.
I’m happy to tell you, Save Yourselves! lived up to my premise driven hopes. The dialogue was clever, the effects felt deliberately campy, and the characters were more likeable than hipster irritating.
Set in “the year humankind lost planet Earth,” the film follows Su (played by Sunita Mani) and Jack (played by John Reynolds). They are a late 20s/early 30-something couple based in Brooklyn, NY, representing all that this stereotype embodies. Su is bright-eyed and diligent with anxiety levels through the roof if her browser tabs have been altered. Jack is progressive and supportive, and maybe just a bit too paternal towards his sourdough starter (shout out to my brother, whose face immediately pops up in my brain during this scene).
Like so many of us, their lives revolve around their many screens – laptops, tablets, phones, social media, text messages, voice messages and email.
Jack’s friend, Raph (pronounced with a hard “a” as in “safe”), played by Ben Sinclair, is a man who has broken from the corporate, money focused, hamster wheel of life. He has decided to lead a more meaningful path of travel and service. Raph offers the couple free use of his upstate New York cabin, and Su and Jack jump at the opportunity with a pact to unplug for the week.
While unplugged, their technology is hard at work capturing the many missed calls, texts, emails, and posts from their worldwide contacts concerned about the couple’s whereabouts amidst a pouffe-ball alien invasion. Meanwhile, Su and Jack’s exposure to the unfathomable pouffes is minimal, made up of near misses or laughed off as odd furniture…. until the living pouffes become undeniable.
When the couple finally realize that something is amiss, they look to their phones, to be met with poor reception and the real-world realization that the earth is in crisis. This brings the humbling realization that while we are a country of people with tenacity and heart, we are also a country of people with few useful skills. (Yes, I know it’s a huge generalization, but that doesn’t make it any less real).
The visual effects were super campy but fun to watch, particularly when it feels like an indie-budget film. Shout out to Andrew Orkin’s score, which was sci-fi super tense in all the right places.
Written and directed by real life couple Alex H. Fischer and Eleanor Wilson, Save Yourselves! is a worthy 2020 distraction watch. That’s as long as you don’t get hung up on the fact that the year isn’t over yet, and with the way the year has been going, alien invasion doesn’t feel completely off the mark of what could await us by December.
Copyright ©2020 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: October 1, 2020.