What Keeps You Alive
Film: What Keeps You Alive
Director: Colin Minihan
Writer: Colin Minihan
Starring: Hannah Emily Anderson, Brittany Allen and Martha MacIsaac
I recently got the chance to check this film out when it was playing in my local theater. I had seen the trailer for it and it intrigued me. When I saw that it was a horror/thriller, I decided to give it a try. The official synopsis is majestic mountains, a still lake and venomous betrayals engulf a female married couple attempting to celebrate their one-year anniversary.
As the synopsis states, we have couple as they are traveling to a lake house. It belongs to Jackie (Hannah Emily Anderson). She has never brought her wife there, Jules (Brittany Allen). The plan is to celebrate their one year anniversary. Jules is amazed by the house and is excited. Jackie shows us though there is something not quite right here.
It seems that the two of them didn’t really know each other that well before getting married. There are a lot of things that Jules doesn’t know about Jackie. She doesn’t really talk about her family and she had no idea about the house they are staying at either. Jackie sings a quite eerie song their first night together. They are interrupted by someone though. Sarah (Martha MacIsaac) shows up. It turns out that she was friends with Jackie growing up. We also learn that her name isn’t Jackie.
This puts Jules in a bad mood and Jackie tries to do what she can to cheer her up. Jules finds out much more when she goes to visit Sarah and her husband, Daniel (Joey Klein). It is there that she learns a bit more about the past that Jackie does seem to want to share, including the truth about one of her childhood friends. This ends up leading to some disastrous results when Jackie tries to kill her.
I love the concept of this film in that we really don’t know someone truly. This couple is married, living together and there are still a lot of things that Jules doesn’t know. I think this is something that is quite terrifying and actually true. As much as we reveal ourselves to our significant other, there are still things inside we don’t share. It also has an interesting concept of how love is blind as well. There are warning signs there from the beginning, but you don’t want to see them when things are good.
What also enhances the horror for this film is the setting. They are out in the middle of nowhere. They are surrounded by woods and in order to survive, there is such a distance to go. On top of that, Jules gets hurt and that makes it even tougher to escape. The setting was definitely used to its fullest.
This brings me to the pacing of the film. I do think the film starts off well. We get a good build-up and then a reveal at the end of the first act that I loved. The film does get a little boring during the second act and it also has a weird section during the third act. The film ends in an interesting way that I was on-board for. It references something earlier in the film and I like a good call back. I think this film would have benefited from cutting maybe like 10-15 minutes to tighten it up, only because it does lose some momentum at times. It does find its way, which I will give it credit for.
Something that really blew me away in this film was the acting. Anderson was absolutely amazing in her performance. Her ability to turn the emotions on and off was scary. The character change we get at the end of the first act was a bit unexpected and it just gets better from there. She really had me entranced this entire film. I also liked Allen as well. She does well at looking like she is really going through the punishment that she does. Her look of betrayal broke my heart and it was interesting to see her try to survive. I also thought that MacIsaac and Klein were solid in their supporting roles as well.
The effects for the film were also good in my opinion. They looked to be done practically and seemed pretty real looking. The blood looked good and the injuries were pretty realistic. There is a hint that Jules is extremely smart and there is something in her past as to why she isn’t a doctor, but she definitely has the brains for it. The effects are definitely a positive for the film.
Soundtrack for the film was also pretty interesting. The song that Jackie sings was quite eerie and there is some times where the score definitely sets the tone of the scene. There was never a point where it ruins anything and takes me out of it. It is also quite strategic in that being out in the woods. We get to hear nature sounds that help to build tension as well, especially if someone is trying to find the other. This is another positive for the film.
Now with that said, I really enjoyed this film. I came in with low expectations and knew as little about it as I could. I thought that it had an interesting setting and underlying issues. The film doesn’t have the most complex story, but it didn’t need it as it was driven by the acting, which was phenomenal. Anderson was absolutely amazing in the role that she portrayed. The editing of the film did have some issues and could have been trimmed a bit. The ending of the film I thought was good though. The effects and soundtrack for the film were both good, I had no issues with either. Overall I’d say that this film is above average. I found it be to be quite interesting. If this type of film sounds interesting, then I’d give it a viewing.
My Rating: 7 out of 10