Navigating a new relationship is both thrilling and frightening. It’s a tense time – a honeymoon phase of tiptoeing around sensitive topics, afraid of scaring the other person away. Sometimes, secrets are kept that led to deadly revelations later – and that’s what propels What Keeps You Alive from one revelation to the next.
It’s difficult to discuss the events that make What Keeps You Alive because there’s a pivotal twist that launches the movie from an uneasy and subdued thriller to a bloody nightmare. Jackie (Hannah Emily Anderson) and Jules (Brittany Allen), a young couple, are celebrating their one-year anniversary by heading to Jackie’s family cabin for a weekend away. However, things take a turn for the worst for one as the weekend progresses.
There’s little to discuss regarding plot, because of that early twist; however, the acting throughout is top-notch. Both Anderson and Allen weave a believable relationship that feels innocent yet unstable – just as you’d expect from a relatively new fling. The story only falters near the end, which is drawn out and trite with a disappointing final shot, spoiling an otherwise tense 90 minutes. Ten minutes left on the cutting room floor wouldn’t have hurt.
The movie’s presentation supersedes its story. What Keeps You Alive has some moments of gorgeous cinematography. Colin Minihan (It Stains The Sands Red, Grave Encounters) directs a script he penned, and the superior camerawork noticeable. It doesn’t distract or overpower the viewing experience.
Early in the film, there’s a one-take shot exploring the Jacki’s family’s cabin, and later there’s an enthralling scene with black lights. There’s another one-take during the film’s climax that’s a perfect example of form serving function. Another high point of What Keeps You Alive are the special effects. It’s not particularly violent, but a few satisfying and cringe-worthy scenes will make audiences with weaker stomachs squirm. None of it is over-the-top, though.
What Keeps You Alive is a tight, tense thriller that builds a compelling story that’s only handicapped by its conclusion. Strong acting and movements of astounding cinematography – which only adds and not distracts from the plat – make Minihan’s latest feature thrilling to watch.
You Can’t Kill ’What Keeps You Alive’ [Review]
What Keeps You Alive is a tense thriller that only falters with its drawn-out conclusion. Solid characters, a compelling story, and gorgeous camerawork make it worth a watch.