On Jan. 5 2020, Save Yourselves!, directed by Alex Huston Fischer and Eleanor Wilson, brought a new twist to the stereotypical alien invasion story. The film follows Su (Sunita Mani) and Jack (John Paul Reynolds), a quirky and lovable New York couple who struggle with their lack of tangible accomplishments and romance. Su, in particular, feels claustrophobic within their stagnant lives, demanding something more. Like many people today, the two are consumed by technology, constantly being distracted by phone screens and Amazon’s virtual assistant, Alexa. In need of a change, the two decide to spend a week in their friend’s private cabin deep in the woods. They completely unplug, disconnecting from the internet and leaving Brooklyn in hopes of reconnecting with each other…mere seconds before the Earth is attacked by aliens. Through its witty humor and clever writing, the film offers an engaging perspective on consumerism, the modern relationship and isolation during a global crisis. Looking back on the film a year and a pandemic later, it brought a lot of social critique to the table that aged like fine wine.
Despite the clear differences between the aliens and humans, their habits of consuming and colonization have an eerie similarity! The aliens, which are shaped like furry pouffe ottomans, have an extreme thirst for ethanol. This results in them consuming massive amounts of gasoline and alcohol worldwide, killing humans in their path to obtain the materials they desire. Humans, similarly, consume their fair amount of gasoline and alcohol, rarely stopping at the risk of other human lives. These consumer-pouffes also set traps for humans, luring them close to big crystalline screens that light up and make noise to the touch, in addition to giving off cell phone service. Considering Su and Jack’s iPhone addiction, it comes as no surprise that they, along with millions of other humans, stand idly by checking their messages while the structure grows around them, forming a bubble that rises out of the atmosphere. In a successful attempt of displacement, the aliens prove stronger than humans, exiling them from Earth to continue plundering the planet’s ethanol supplies in peace.
While mimicking human habits of colonization, the film also brings up the question “But who’s to say [the aliens] won’t take better care of this place?” On one of their first nature hikes before finding out about the invasion, Su closely observes an ant hill she finds. “It’s funny,” she states, “They think this crumb is so important. Little do they know there are two giant humans standing right next to them that could crush them at any moment.” The irony, obviously, is that all around them in every direction aliens are crushing humans, whose weakness lies in their obsessive need for technology–the human equivalent of the ant’s crumb.
We also watch Su and Jack acknowledge issues like climate change, gun laws and gentrification, only to brush them off to either look at their phones or try and fall back in love. Clearly, despite the pertinent global issues, the two are often distracted by “crumbs” of their own. And unlike their friend Raph (Ben Sinclair), neither drops their job or life to begin making surfboards out of algae to clean up the ecosystem. Which, of course, is understandable. I, myself, am not doing that either. However, it really does go to ask, “Who says the aliens won’t take better care of the Earth?”.
Su’s main fear within their relationship is that because of their addiction to technology, they are becoming happily complacent and boring. Her worry is representative of the laziness of the entire human race at large in the midst of pertinent issues like racial violence and the COVID-19 pandemic. Su’s line in particular, “The world is fucked! And we should stop pretending it’s not,” holds a lot of weight following 2020, which brought chaos in various forms. This is not to diservice the work that millions have put in over the past years to ignite change. This simply goes to say that there are people out there who could be doing more to help, but have grown comfortable within their robotic routines, ignoring problems and leaving others to solve them. Interestingly enough, despite the film blaming Human’s fall into laziness on technology, this past year has proven how crucial social media platforms can be for spreading awareness and initiating forward progress. There are, however, those whose TikTok obsessions may have become unruly during the quarantine!
Overall, the film is hilarious and original, despite its slightly underwhelming and abrupt ending. At multiple points, it successfully jumps from lighthearted, quirky humor to dark, suspenseful danger, managing to keep viewers constantly on their toes. Su and Jack make for a refreshing couple whose shared issues and habits are universal and easily relatable to the modern audience. Su especially wins over the viewer’s support early on with her fierce determination to change her life and her ability to always lead the charge. Watching these two attempt to fall back in love and try to survive an alien invasion is not something you want to miss.
‘Save Yourselves!’ is available to stream on Hulu.
By Erik Mathews