Review: In ‘What Keeps You Alive,’ a Couple, a Cabin and a Crisis

0
7

The opening shot of “What Keeps You Alive” is a mouse’s eye view of tall ominous trees. The second is of a car turning down a darkly lit street, which veers toward a home perched on a hill.

Out emerges Jules (Brittany Allen), thrilled to be taking a blissful vacation with her wife, Jackie (Hannah Emily Anderson), in Jackie’s childhood home. Anyone who has seen a movie about a cabin in the woods knows something very bad is about to happen. But Colin Minihan, the writer and director of this stylish horror film, understands that what really matters in such genre entertainments is not what it is, but how it’s done.

The first half-hour, when Jules becomes uneasy after learning a secret from Jackie’s past, plays a bit like “Get Out” for gay marriage. Ms. Allen and Ms. Anderson deliver ferocious physical performances, explicating fear and dread in their movements with such precision that this movie would be coherent even without sound. Then it takes a left turn that accelerates the shocks, transforming a mood piece into an action-filled, cat-and-mouse stalker film.

In the process, it indulges in preposterous twists and leaden dialogue about nature, nurture and conscience. But true horror fans will forgive its shortcomings since they serve the greater good of gorgeous gore and stunningly staged scenes. Its violence is its least predictable part, with the movie zeroing in on sights you didn’t expect and retreating at exactly the moment you expect it to go in for the close-up. In a film thick with doom and dread, nothing is more alive than the camera.

Original Article

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here