Horror genre is like blood that circulates in the cinematic world and if it stops flowing, cinema can simply die with it. This is why it’s important to appreciate the genre in a way the viewer after seeing it in cinema is left fully satisfied with whatever he was offered. Written and directed by Colin Minihan, “What Keeps You Alive” manages to grab the horror genre, shake it like a milkshake and turn it into a ridiculously funny comedy which, may not sound that way though, is a big compliment that must go to the entire cast and crew. And I really mean it.
Without further ado, the film follows a married lesbian couple, Jackie and Jules, who are eagerly anticipating the arrival of the weekend to celebrate their one-year anniversary. However, Jackie’s mind quickly switches from sane to psychopath mode that turns the weekend into a cat-and-mouse game from which it will be hard to predict who will come out alive.
Jackie has a secret from her childhood which Jules knows nothing about. And when Jackie shares what her father told her about killing something which kept her alive, which is the story of a killed bear, it makes the entire film intriguing to watch. At one point with a very serious expression on Jackie’s face, she hands the knife over to Jules asking her to keep it if the dark side of Jackie decides to wake up the same way it happened back when she was a little girl when she had to kill a bear in self defence.
Strange or not, the same knife the viewer will be seeing throughout the movie like an additional lead actor but with no lines to deliver. But overall, what you will be left to watch is the most outstanding fight between two women where one will try to kill its target while the other one stubbornly refuses to die. And despite the plot itself being so ridicilously dull, at some point you will give up struggling with what’s going on between the women and watch them try to oversmart the other. And all this is extremely entertaining, funny and even scary, if you wish. But it’s indeed never boring.
In conclusion, the best thing about “What Keeps You Alive” is how the filmmaker/director distances his film from the general concept of horror cinema and adds more art and creativity to it, making it absolutely unique and somewhat impossible to digest. But whatever the writer wanted to tell us through his film never mattered, as the result of it is much bigger and astounding even though it had no logical explanation to provide whatsoever.
But with films like this, I guess, entertainment is what comes first, and for the actors it was like as if they were members of a big orchestra where both Hannah Emily Anderson and Brittany Allen were superbly in sync with the characters they portrayed as if they were a part of them. As if it was for both of them the only way to keep themselves alive….