SXSW 2018 Review: WHAT KEEPS YOU ALIVE

By  Jan Hamilton

On their first anniversary, Jackie (Hannah Emily Anderson) and Jules (Brittany Allen), an attractive female couple, visits Jackie’s childhood home.  The place is a beautiful old house on a wooded lakeside with the the only other house across the lake.  Therefore, Jackie and Jules have total privacy.  As Jules sees it for the first time, she declares her love for it and claims she could live there forever.  The one neighbor, Sarah (Martha MacIsaac), stops by the first night.  Seeing lights in the neighboring house, she worries that someone is breaking in, as the house is normally vacant.  She is assured all is well.  The only strange thing is, Sarah calls Jackie, “Meaghan.”

After Sarah leaves, Jules questions her, upset that Jackie never mentioned the name change.  Jackie says she never liked her name and changed it when she grew up.  This satisfies Jules, though.  The next day, Jackie goes to town and Jules rows across the lake to Sarah and Daniel’s home.  She sees a picture of three young girls on a mantle.  It is Sarah, Jackie, and another girl.  Jackie says that she was her best friend who drowned when they tried to swim across the lake.  Things take a sudden turn on a cliff top, and from then on, one partner is fighting for her life.

This is a formulaic thriller, but one that is very, very well done.  The fight to survive is brutal and scary.  Both female leads are great with extra credit to Brittany Allen, who co-wrote with the director Colin Minihan.  The beautiful, peaceful surroundings are a nice contrast to the fight to the death that ensues.

Film Credits:

Director:  Colin Minihan

Producer:  Chris Ball, Kurtis David Harder,

Ben Knechtel & Colin Minihan

Screenwriter: Colin Minihan,

Story By Brittany Allen & Colin Minihan

Cinematographer: David Schuurman

Editor: Colin Minihan

Music: Brittany Allen

Principal Cast: Hannah Emily Anderson, Brittany Allen,

Martha MacIsaac, Joey Klein, Charlotte Lindsay Marron

 

 

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