The writing and directing team of Alex Huston Fischer and Eleanor Wilson create one of the funniest apocalyptic films imaginable in “Save Yourselves!” starring the comedic duo Sunita Mani and John Reynolds. Portraying a young couple obsessed with technology, Jack (Reynolds) and Sue (Mani) decide to unplug for a week and head Upstate for a reprieve and to rejuvenate their relationship. Turning off their phones, their optimism for a spectacular week of reconnection can be seen in their eyes…if only they would have looked up.
“Save Yourselves!” sets up everything you need to know in the first scenes, before they head to their serene, forested lodging devoid of Siri and Alexa. So pay close attention to all the dialogue and all the details as they come into play every bit of the way, especially the non-conformist/anti-Hollywood ending.
Sue is an organized control freak who has just lost her job. Struggling to make sense of things, she’s got the entire week planned. This is in juxtaposition to her laid back significant other, Jack. And together they are comic gold as they play off of each other’s characters and personalities. With Sue’s seriousness and measured panic as they discover the world as they know it is ending thanks to an invasion by “pouffes,” Jack’s inadvertent physical humor as he plunges into the unknown is simply hysterical. And this type of comedy ramps itself up, never letting you down for the entire film.
While the initial scenes feature more than just Reynolds and Mani, it becomes a two-person film taking place primarily in one location. Mani’s ability to counterbalance Reynold’s physical humor as well as his incredibly varied facial and vocal reactions to augment his lines is spot-on perfect with timing and reaction. Their natural interactions and conversations feel ad libbed but with complete structure creating the illusion of a real couple. They are the perfect yin-yang and with that, they gently pull you into their world. With that invitation, we find ourselves immersed in Jack and Sue’s world, but the camera allows us to see what they cannot…something big is happening all around them. Their eventual discovery is slowly revealed as they relish in being a couple—drinking wine, gazing at the stars many of which are shooting (hint, hint) and basking in a boat on a pond. This relaxed demeanor puts the audience on edge, knowing of an invasion, but all in good time they begin to put the pieces of the puzzle together. And every step they take could be their last, but even if it is, you know that Fischer and Wilson will make us laugh about it.
Fischer and Wilson seem to have the Midas touch when it comes to finding humor in any and every situation, but the panache for making us gasp and scream out loud while laughing just as hard is brilliant. As you can tell, this is no ordinary apocalypse film or story. It’s really more about a relationship and how one couple deals with the extraordinary circumstance with which they face—living or dying thanks to a foreign critter with a nasty needle-sharp bite. Sue and Jack respond so very differently to the situation which in itself lends itself to funny scenarios, but it is the accumulation of issues that snowballs and becomes an avalanche of irony and even comic horror. From Jack’s inept ability to chop wood and be a “real man” and his alcohol induced night terrors to Sue’s controlled panics and detailed discussions of processing what she’s seeing, Reynolds and Mani take what’s written on the page and deliver a story worth seeing several times. With their natural chemistry and familiarity paired with great writing and directing, it’s total entertainment even if there are a couple of flaws within the plot. (I’ll watch it a few more times to double check this!). The final third of the film becomes a race to, away, or from (no spoilers here) with an ending that is the perfect icing on the cake and just as satisfying. But be warned, while there is some gore in this film, it’s never the focal point and you’ll find yourself laughing even during the bit of blood you see.
“Save Yourselves!” now showing streaming everywhere. Movies Anywhere