So, when I saw the trailer for SAVE YOURSELVES! (available for rent or purchase through Amazon) I was really excited. The premise of this movie is just awesome. A young, NYC couple decides that to rekindle their stagnating lives, they will go completely off-grid and stay for a week at a Cabin In The Woods owned by a friend of theirs. They do this right as the alien invasion begins.
The aliens, as shown in the trailer, are monstrous, carnivorous tribbles. So we have this city couple, who knows nothing at all about country survival, attempting to survive the Death Tribble Invasion all by themselves. And I thought, this is exactly the movie I want: a ridiculous space-horror spoof. It looked like it was going to be a cross between GalaxyQuest and Cabin In The Woods, two of my all-time favorite films.
And at the end of it, all I can say is that the title should be taken as an earnest warning to the viewer.
Tragically, this effort fell short. Far, far short.
It begins with a very, very slow build-up to the actual invasion. And I do not mind slow-build movies. Some horror movies work very well this way. The original Alien comes to mind. But Alien was not supposed to be a comedy. And in this case, the slow burn only serves to become tedious.
Once they get to the cabin, there are a few funny moments, as the protagonists miss signs of the invasion going on at the edge of the camera, but the movie relentlessly focuses on their boring, cliched relationship, leading me to conclude that this movie either a) did not really know what it was supposed to be about nearly as well as the trailer-writers did, or b) this script was born of the conflict between two factions: one of which wanted to make the goofball/spoof movie the trailer had promised, and the other of which was trying to make a sensitive movie about love in extremes and first contact with aliens, a la Arrival.
This combination did not work well.
The upshot is that just as the protagonists realize the Awful Truth, and Team GalaxyQuest‘s film is starting to take off comedically, Team Arrival’s film raises the stakes by introducing, among other things, a traumatically orphaned baby. And with that, dear readers, the comedy is dead. Adding a baby to anything even remotely resembling a real situation — and by that I mean anything less goofball than say, an Airplane! movie — is going to kill the funny faster than potassium cyanide. It just raises the emotional pitch far too high.
From there, the film staggers on to a complete non-ending. I really don’t want to do spoilers, here, but the whole serious/horror thread was much better done by another Amazon film, The Vast Of Night, which is a available to watch for FREE on Amazon Prime. And if you’re in the mood for it, I sincerely recommend you watch it instead.