This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (July 2021)
|Edited by||Sofi Marshall|
|Music by||Andrew Orkin|
|Distributed by||Bleecker Street|
Save Yourselves! is a 2020 American science fiction comedy film written and directed by Alex Huston Fischer and Eleanor Wilson, and starring Sunita Mani and John Paul Reynolds. The film premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. It was released on October 2, 2020, by Bleecker Street.
A prologue states that this was the year the Earth was lost. A 30-something millennial couple, Su and Jack, decide to "disconnect" from their Internet-obsessed and superficial lives in Brooklyn by turning off their phones for a week and staying at a remote cabin in the forest, owned by their friend Raph. Su tells her boss about the trip and her boss replies that she is fired. As they drive away, objects begin descending from the sky.
At the cabin, the couple reconnect with one another, discussing various ways to "become better people", such as by baking bread, going vegetarian, or starting a community garden. Their urges to turn their phones back on are strong at first but seem to subside as time goes on. During their stay, Jack notices a strange fuzzy ball-like object sitting in the den, which Su refers to as a "pouffe," due to its similar appearance to a footrest. After briefly contemplating if it was there before, the couple ignore it.
Su produces a hand-written list of activities for her and Jack to perform in order to connect with each other on a deeper level. With Jack initially interested, he finds out that Su wrote this list down from an article on the Internet, saying that instead of disconnecting from the Internet like they intended, Su brought it with them.
After several discussions about doing something with their lives and what they have to offer the world, Su heatedly insults Jack's character, who angrily walks away and goes outside. Jack attempts to chop wood but only manages to get the axe stuck in the wood, and only gets the axe unstuck after a lot of trouble.
While Jack is outside, Su secretly turns on her phone and listens to several strange voicemails from her mother about giant "rats" infesting New York that seem to consume ethanol. Before she can listen further, Jack returns, and Su quickly hides her phone. Jack admits to Su that he feels inadequate as a man, but is committed to them becoming closer. After a night of playing cards and drinking, Su and Jack begin making love in front of a large window overlooking the yard. Just outside the window, Raph has arrived at the cabin, but falls to the ground dead, revealing a "pouffe" just behind him, apparently having been killed by it.
Su and Jack awaken to see that Jack's sourdough starter is empty, and their bottle of whiskey has been drained, with both containers having a small hole punched in the bottom and a sticky substance around the holes. Su recalls her mother's voicemails realizes the starter and the whiskey contained ethanol, and that the creatures may be the "giant rats" she was talking about. She admits to Jack that she broke their disconnecting agreement, but that she thinks the voicemails may be related to what's going on. The two hide upstairs and turn on their phones, finding they've lost signal but learning from various belated voicemails and texts already on her phone from the day before that the pouffes are alien invaders that have attacked New York, forcing a mass evacuation, and that the pouffes feed on ethanol.
A pouffe appears in the den, and they attempt to approach it. The pouffe flees by launching a long thin proboscis out the door and pulling itself along at high speed. Stunned, the couple then make a plan to escape in their car back to the city. However, they find that the pouffes have pierced the fuel tank and drained it, since gasoline contains ethanol. They find an old Land Rover and its keys in the barn. They find that the Land Rover does not only start up, but it has a full tank of diesel fuel, which the pouffes ignore feeding on.
Driving through the woods, they find a truck coming the other way pulling off the side of the road in front of a pouffe. A couple gets out of the car, and the wife produces a gun and starts shooting at the pouffe. The pouffe fires its proboscis at her and punches a hole in her chest, killing her. The husband runs to check on her and the pouffe punches a hole in his head, killing him as well.
Jack grabs a bottle of wine they packed from the cabin, and throws it off the road into the woods as a distraction to attract the pouffe to the ethanol and off the path. The pouffe rises in the air and sprays a pheromone at Su and Jack, before returning to the ground and moving into the woods. Su and Jack comment that the pheromone smells and tastes awful.
They slowly pass the truck to continue on their way, but they hear a baby crying. They have a brief debate on whether they should go back and rescue it, or pretend they did not hear it and move on. After hearing the baby again, they begrudgingly decide to go back and rescue it. They see the baby in the back seat of the truck, and they open the door and begin unbuckling the car seat. As they do, a woman emerges from the bed of the truck, having hidden under a blanket. She sneaks around the other side of the truck and grabs the gun on the ground. As Su and Jack notice the woman and believe she can help them and the baby, the woman keeps them at gunpoint and says she is taking the car, commenting that it runs on diesel and cannot be affected by the aliens. Su asks the woman about her baby, and the woman says it is not hers and drives off. They find a birth certificate and discover that the baby is also named Jack.
With no other options, Su and Jack take some supplies from the truck, including a papoose that Jack wears, and head into the woods. Su becomes despondent, worried about her family and lamenting that they have no life skills to survive the invasion, or to offer in any future society in the wake of the discovery of alien life. While Su and Jack change Baby Jack's diaper, they begin hallucinating from the pouffe's pheromones. Under the influence, they muse about getting married and doing great things when society rebuilds, and do not notice that Baby Jack crawls away. Su pulls out two needles of epinephrine from the truck, and injects herself and Jack, knocking them unconscious.
Su and Jack wake up and find that Baby Jack is gone. After panicking and searching, they discover Baby Jack, and a pouffe sitting between him and them. Jack stands between the pouffe and Su. The pouffe shoots its proboscis at Jack but somehow only knocks him over instead of killing him. Its proboscis becomes stuck in Jack's papoose. Su grabs a knife and cuts off the proboscis, which deflates and kills the pouffe. Jack pulls his cell phone out of the pocket of the papoose, which is now crushed because it blocked the impact of the pouffe's proboscis.
Each touched by the other's willingness to protect them, Jack and Su climb to a lookout point along the trail with Baby Jack, and marvel at how they feel more mature and in love compared to how they were when they arrived at the cabin. They commit to marrying one another and intend to raise the baby as their own in the woods, achieving the next steps of their adulthood.
Su notices a strange translucent structure growing out of the ground nearby and investigates. She comments that she cannot touch it because of some kind of force field. Jack guesses that it is some kind of communications tower. The two then discover that their phones have mysteriously regained signal and they immediately check them for information. While they are on their phones, the structure changes shape to trap them inside of an egg-shaped structure. They are unable to break through and they scream for help, though their voices are silent outside the bubble. Su calls 911 but is directed to voicemail due to high call volume.
The bubble begins rising straight up, off the ground and above the trees, taking Su, Jack, and Baby Jack with them. They watch as they eventually rise above the clouds and into the stratosphere. They see hundreds of other bubbles are also rising into space from all around the visible area. They begin to have trouble breathing, but are suddenly supplied oxygen as they rise further into space. Jack asks, "Are we saved?" Jack and Su are left contemplating what is happening and what will happen as the bubbles continue their gentle path out into space.
- Sunita Mani as Su
- John Paul Reynolds as Jack
- Ben Sinclair as Raph
- John Early as Blake
- Jo Firestone as Desi
- Amy Sedaris as the voice of Jack’s mother
- Johanna Day as Judy
The film had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 25, 2020. Shortly after, Bleecker Street acquired distribution rights to the film. It was released on October 2, 2020, and is available on Hulu in the United States.
Save Yourselves holds a Certified Fresh 89% approval rating on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 14 reviews, with a weighted average of 6.86/10. Stephanie Zacharek from Time magazine praised the film, saying, "It takes itself just seriously enough, but not too seriously."
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- Rotten Tomatoes — Save Yourselves!
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- "Save Yourselves! (2020)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved October 27, 2020.
- "Save Yourselves! Is an Engaging, Timely Sci-Fi Comedy About the Need to Unplug". TIME Magazine. Retrieved October 27, 2020.