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  • Writer's pictureBen Turner

What Keeps You Alive **

Starring: Hannah Emily Anderson, Brittany Allen, Martha MacIsaac, Joey Klein

Director: Colin Minihan

Country: Canada

It’s that classic old tale. Girl meets girl. Girl marries girl. Girl celebrates one year anniversary with girl in a cabin in the woods. Girl discovers girl is a sadistic psycho killer and has to fight to the death for ninety minutes without any adequate explanation as to why. Classic.

Cabin in the woods films are plentiful. So much so that their parody, aptly named The Cabin In The Woods had to go down a wild sci-fi route because there wasn’t enough mileage in just seeing teenagers running through a forest smeared half in mud, half in blood. The point is, there has to be something more than just screaming, running and scrambling in the undergrowth. There is nothing more than this in What Keeps You Alive, the new Canadian lesbian horror slasher that has just arrived on Netflix.

Jules (Allen, looking like a Jamie Lee Curtis/Switchblade Romance scream queen) is married to Jackie (Anderson). They’ve come to Jackie’s family cabin for the first time, but secrets from the past are barely hiding beneath its antler-chic veneer. The neighbours (MacIsaac & Klein) are her childhood friends poised to reveal Jackie’s barely concealed secret to her unsuspecting wife. Cue psychosis. Except, absolutely nothing about Jackie convinces that she’s a psychotic merciless murderer. She seems quite nice, actually.

This is a horror-thriller that wants us to really know it’s a horror-thriller. When we’re following Jules crawling through the mud, with blood pouring from head-wounds and panting like a ragged mongrel it certainly looks like one, but it just completely fails in giving us a credible villain. Jackie is about as threatening as a baby koala and as Jules fades into reticent submission, you can’t help but wonder what you’re missing. Just get in the car and drive away, Jules, for pity’s sake!

It’s final minutes try to go for something a bit more profound, but this is no Anti-Christ. This is about as profound as Matalan advert.


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