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What Keeps You Alive - A Disappointing, Frustrating Mess

Sh-Ron Almeida

Anchor staff

The film depicts Jules and Jackie, a happily married couple who decide to spend their one-year anniversary at a secluded cabin in the woods. Upon arrival, strange changes in Jackie begin to reveal a darker, sinister side. Once her malicious intent becomes clear, Jules is forced to fight for her life against the one woman she loves most.

After 20 minutes, things begin to pick up the pace and a big reveal happens. This ended up working in its detriment rather than benefit. It would have been more interesting for the mystery to linger throughout half of the film. Jules could have investigated the secrets that Jackie is keeping from her. That should’ve been expanded for 10 or 20 more minutes before the big reveal. After the revelation, Jules is at the mercy of her wife for the rest of the film until the climax. She is put through the wringer, physically, emotionally and mentally. Yet, the decisions she makes, as well as Jackie’s, are questionably frustrating at best. She had every chance to escape her captor or call out for help, but the film goes out of its way to prolong the cat and mouse game with little to no payoff.

There’s also a suspension of reality. As far as I know, one doesn’t simply fall off a cliff, stand up after 10 minutes and sprint through a forest. Nobody would have dinner with somebody who they might suspect of a past wrongdoing. Nobody would throw their chance of freedom right out the window to confront their obviously psychotic imprisoner.

This film had a strong opening and it had the potential to stand out as a great horror movie. Sadly, after 20 minutes, it fumbled with the ball, lost it, and fell off a cliff in the process. The experimental cinematography and musical score were the only positives I could get from this. It's worth watching, but not revisiting.

What Keeps You Alive was released in 2018 and is currently streaming on Netflix.


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