REVIEW: Save Yourselves (2020)
Premiering earlier this year at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, writer-directors Alex Huston Fischer and Eleanor Wilson’s Save Yourselves couldn’t come at a more relatable time. The unravelling end-of-the-world events mirror the lockdown experienced globally, with many of us turning to self-improvement or new hobbies to pass the time. As Sourdough bread become a lockdown staple, one of the film’s protagonists hilariously nurses his own sourdough creation, whilst the other vows to go vegetarian. Yes this is a perfect watch for these crazy times, with the endearingly hapless couple hilariously slow to realise the global situation, resulting in a delightful apocalyptic indie rom com with plenty of heart.
Su (Glow’s Sunita Mani) and Jack (John Reynolds), a 30-something couple from Brooklyn, plan to escape from their technological addictions and reconnect with each other at a friend’s woodland cabin. The two make a pact to go offline for a week, with no phones, laptops or Alexa in an attempt to completely unplug from the outside world. As the two unwind and enjoy the surroundings, they’re blissfully unaware of the planet being invaded by cute extraterrestrial fuzz balls. Initially thinking they’re part of the furniture, the two realise the “pouffes” appear to sporadically move around the cabin, strategically emptying the fuel from their getaway vehicle…
Fischer and Wilson hilariously poke fun at millennials and their over-reliance on social media and technology. The film is packed full of self-deprecating humour, coupled with comically relatable scenes of the couple bickering. In one of the more hilarious sequences, Su whacks Jack’s phone out of his hand, with a surprised Jack gratefully saying “thank you” for saving him from the endless scrolling. As the two attempt to gain control of their lives and rekindle their relationship, the comedy gradually delves into more sci-fi horror and apocalyptic elements. The two begin to hear creepy, weird noises, notice alarmingly close shooting stars and question whether the furniture starts floating. As they discover the truth about the global situation, their woefully inept survival skills are tested as they time how fast it takes them to pack their getaway bags and argue over their anti-gun stance.
Mani and Reynolds’ are hugely entertaining as the comedically sharp leads, with a fantastic chemistry amidst genuinely believable scenarios. Su busies herself with making a self-improvement checklist for their relationship, following an existential crisis. While hipster Jack’s failed experiences trying to light a fire and split logs lead to a small breakdown, as he exclaims “I don’t know how to be a man!” The two are incredibly likeable but rather inept when it comes to core survival skills, with plenty of shout-at-the-screen moments as Su attempts to wield a small shovel for protection while they leave the gun behind. The witty script, along with Mani and Reynold’s delivery, perfectly recreates the realities of being in a long-term relationship, making for a number of amusing and relatable scenes.
Owing to the relatively low budget, the seemingly harmless and adorable extraterrestrials resemble the fluffy Tribbles from Star Trek. They ominously levitate and use their giant tongues to quickly swing from objects, along with emptying fuel tanks and jars full of sourdough. As Fischer and Wilson dip their toes into black comedy, we see the creatures using their tongues to pass through human heads in a couple of surprisingly gory moments, along with levelling people who attempt to evade their attacks. All the while, Su and Jack are entertainingly (and conveniently) unaware of the events going on around them. However, most of the visual effects are saved for the film’s bizarre closing sequence.
Verdict: With a fantastic central chemistry and witty script, Save Yourselves is an entertaining and equally charming apocalyptic affair.