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Sundance: 'Save Yourselves!' asks what you do when you miss the end of the world?
It's not uncommon for us to feel way too absorbed in our screens and have the urge to try and unplug from technology and social media for a while, but there's always that FOMO feeling that comes along with that idea. What would the worst-case scenario be in that situation?
How about completely missing the end of the world?
Writer/directors Alex Huston Fisher and Eleanor Wilson explore that question in their sci-fi comedy Save Yourselves!, which premiered at Sundance this past weekend. The film stars Sunita Mani (Mr. Robot, GLOW, the "Turn Down for What?" video) and John Reynolds (Stranger Things) as Su and Jack, a Brooklyn couple who try to reconnect with each other by going on an isolated retreat to a cabin in the woods, vowing not to check their phones for a whole week ... and that turns out to be the week when aliens take over the world.
"We've never actually done that. We would never do that! It's crazy to turn your phone off," Wilson explained to the Sundance Film Festival audience, with SYFY WIRE in attendance, of the concept of unplugging from the internet. "The story just came from that kind of fear and thinking about the worst thing that could happen."
The film is mostly a relationship comedy about two soft people with no real practical skills trying to rough it and resist the allure of their phones, so when the otherworldly stuff starts creeping in, Fisher and Wilson tried to keep it as real as they could.
"We always knew we wanted to do things as practically as possible, just because it's essentially a pretty grounded story between these two," Wilson said. "So if you throw a ton of CG at it, it becomes less believable."
The question that comes up in any sci-fi fan's mind upon hearing the words alien invasion is usually "What kind of aliens are we talking about?" Alas, it would be a major spoiler to reveal that, as part of the mystery and panic that ensues comes from Su and Jack being completely unaware of what's happening. Still, there was specific thought put into the aliens' design.
"We wanted the alien to be something that could have been in the cabin for a while without them noticing," Wilson explained. "And we wanted it to not have a face."
"Why would it have a face?" Fisher added. "It's just stupid that aliens have faces."
Save Yourselves! is currently screening at the Sundance Film Festival.