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.