Majestic mountains, a still lake and venomous betrayals engulf a female married couple attempting to celebrate their one-year anniversary.
Hannah Emily Anderson : Jackie
Brittany Allen : Jules
Film Review : What keeps you Alive
She fell off a cliff.
911, my wife, she fell off a cliff.
Oh, my God! Please help me.
Some marriages fail because married people come to realize that their interests are different or because there are too many contradictions that lead to endless quarrels. It hurts when you are going through a divorce. And some divorces turn out to be ugly. The only thing you can say is that, under normal circumstances, both individuals pick up their lives and try to find happiness again. Things are completely different for Jules (Brittany Allen) and Jackie (Hannah Emily Anderson). For one of them, divorcing is a hobby. And the divorce happens in a very abrupt and deadly way. The comparison with a black widow is easily made. And the reason is rather lucrative.
A female serial killer.
“What keeps you alive” is a thriller that differs in many ways from similar films. Firstly, this time there’s a female serial killer. You won’t find many women in the “Hall of Fame” of serial killers. The only one I can remember is Aileen Wuornos who was excellently portrayed by Charlize Theron in “Monster” in 2003. It’s mostly men who fill the list of psychopathic, crazy serial killers. And second, they introduce a lesbian couple. The advantage compared with a standard couple is that there’s no question here of the stronger gender dominating the female gender. And before I end up being called a sexist bastard and feminists furiously start to throw with frying pans: I don’t have a problem with sexual orientations whatsoever. I thought it was a unique and interesting starting point and I was curious how the display of power would manifest itself.
Better run for your life, boy.
From the outset, it’s clear Jules demands the male role in this lesbian relationship. Not only does she look more masculine than Jackie. She also moves and dresses like the stronger woman. Her girlfriend is an attractive young lady who takes care of dinner and afterward plays the guitar just for the fun of it. Only it’s not a cheerful campfire song but a strange kind of mesmerizing song about a demon. The phrase “Better run for your life, boy” sounds rather threatening. And certainly when you see Jackie’s frightening look. A bit like how Eddie Vedder sometimes looks at you in the video clip “Jeremy”. That could be the harbinger of disaster.
It didn’t feel like a horror.
“What keeps you alive” certainly isn’t a bad film. However, it’s just an average thriller. A film about how some individuals present themselves very differently from who they actually are. So Jules soon comes to the conclusion that there are things she didn’t really know about her lovely wife. When she discovers that Jackie used to have a different name in the past and that she already had several girlfriends, Jules starts asking herself questions. And before they realize it, the romantic get-together turns into a true struggle in which one of them tries to survive after being seriously injured. There are no real surprises. And there are also incredibly stupid moments, such as dinner with Jackie’s childhood friend and husband. An implausible moment where I started to shake my head energetically. The result is murderous and the actions being taken might fit a horror. Still, I didn’t think it was a horror after all.
Another cabin in the woods.
Well, it’s not really original. Every time it’s about a cabin in the woods, you can assume that terrible things will happen. Admittedly, the film contains some beautiful images. The immense forest and the vast lake are adequately used as a backdrop. And the acting of both Brittany Allen and Hannah Emily Anderson is far from bad. I found Anderson especially convincing. The way her dark side takes over is wonderful to see. But you can’t really call it more than a cat and mouse game. Even though the rowing boat scene can be called nerve-racking. And the final twist is sort of resourceful. However, this doesn’t ensure that this Canadian thriller really exceeds the average.
My rating 4/10