‘What Keeps You Alive’ SFF 2018 Review

What Keeps You Alive is a fun little low-budget slasher flick directed by one of the Vicious Brothers, Colin Minihan.

Married couple Jackie (Hannah Emily Anderson) and Jules (Brittany Allen) take an anniversary holiday in your basic luxury cabin in the woods, overlooking a deep lake. They bump into some neighbours from across the lake and everything suddenly becomes tense. And then it starts going completely haywire. To give away any more is really to spoil it and this is better seen knowing nothing in advance, so it’s best to just discuss the film-making technique.

This is an extremely basic film. There are literally only five members of the cast, one of whom only appears for a few seconds and says nothing. The locations are limited to just a few spaces. If a horror or thriller doesn’t have tension, it’s a failure, and this movie succeeds fairly well on that front. Where it fails slightly is in being a little repetitive at times and occasional pretentious stylistic choices that result in a bit of detachment at the wrong moments. It also telegraphs some of its plot points really obviously, to the point that you’ll start to wonder when they’ll come into play during slower moments. It also suffers a little from the usual stupid (and overly passive) protagonist behaviour that is frustrating in this sort of film, although there’s nothing too egregious here.

On a side-note, if you noticed that the married couple are both women, that’s really about all that needs to be said about it. It is purely incidental (and accidental, as the original husband was replaced at the last minute), although this is a happy accident (a bit like Sigourney Weaver getting the role of Ripley instead of the proposed male actor) as a same-sex couple subtly upends some of the conventional power dynamics you’d expect to find watching a horror.

So, is it good? Yes. It’s decent. Nothing brilliant, but a fun – if somewhat disposable – little thriller.

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