Review: Save Yourselves!

Score: B+

Directors: Alex Huston Fischer, Eleanor Wilson

Cast: Sunita Mani, John Reynolds, Ben Sinclair, Johanna Day

Running Time: 93 Minutes

Rated: R

Save Yourselves! is a charming, lo-fi sci-fi comedy that at times felt painfully authentic. The conversations between its main couple Su (Sunita Mani) and Jack (John Reynolds) felt so eerily similar to the way my wife and I interact with each other, that I'm curious if the filmmakers had listening devices in our apartment.

The couple is 30-something, Brooklyn residents addicted to their phones. After wasting another afternoon mindlessly scrolling, they agree to take their friend (Ben Sinclair) up on his offer to stay at his cabin upstate. They plan to completely unplug for the week: no phones, no tablets, no laptops. The first couple of days go well, as they hike, work on puzzles and reconnect. But they miss the actual life-changing news: Earth has been invaded by aliens and they're quickly destroying the planet and its inhabitants.

Cut off from their devices and far from their family and friends, they're forced to fend for themselves. They're certainly not dumb, but have almost no survival skills to speak of. (I particularly related to Jack's anguish over not being able to do anything stereotypically manly.) Unlike big-budget invasion movies, there's no crazy old coot or scientist to explain the alien's habits and needs. The aliens themselves don't look threatening either. They're basically jumbo-sized versions of the Tribbles from the original Star Trek series crossed with those sticky-hand toys. But they will straight-up murder you.

What makes Save Yourselves! so much fun is how unexpected it is. No scene plays out exactly how you'd anticipate. These two city-dwellers have to figure out everything for themselves and then move on to the next challenge. Their arguments in the midst of absolute chaos reminded me of that scene in The Incredibles when Jack and Helen bicker about the fastest way downtown to thwart the latest villain. I found it delightful, but I can see how some people could find it irritating.

Save Yourselves! squeezes a lot out of its limited budget and locations. It's one of the best comedies of the year and a strong debut from its writer-directors.

*This review originally appeared as part of our 2020 Atlanta Film Festival coverage.


About Kip Mooney

Kip Mooney
Like many film critics born during and after the 1980s, my hero is Roger Ebert. The man was already the best critic in the nation when he won the Pulitzer in 1975, but his indomitable spirit during and after his recent battle with cancer keeps me coming back to read not only his reviews but his insightful commentary on the everyday. But enough about a guy you know a lot about. I knew I was going to be a film critic—some would say a snob—in middle school, when I had to voraciously defend my position that The Royal Tenenbaums was only a million times better than Adam Sandler’s remake of Mr. Deeds. From then on, I would seek out Wes Anderson’s films and avoid Sandler’s like the plague. Still, I like to think of myself as a populist, and I’ll be just as likely to see the next superhero movie as the next Sundance sensation. The thing I most deplore in a movie is laziness. I’d much rather see movies with big ambitions try and fail than movies with no ambitions succeed at simply existing. I’m also a big advocate of fun-bad movies like The Room and most of Nicolas Cage’s work. In the past, I’ve written for The Dallas Morning News and the North Texas Daily, which I edited for a semester. I also contributed to Dallas-based Pegasus News, which in the circle of life, is now part of The Dallas Morning News, where I got my big break in 2007. Eventually, I’d love to write and talk about film full-time, but until that’s a viable career option, I work as an auditor for Wells Fargo. I hope to one day meet my hero, go to the Toronto International Film Festival, and compete on Jeopardy. Until then, I’m excited to share my love of film with you.