Thursday, August 23, 2018

Home Is Where The Hearts Are Buried

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Romance is often equated with a plunge - you fall in love. You go head over heels. You take the leap. Well What Keeps You Alive, the latest horror movie from It Stains the Sand Red director Colin Minihan, takes that descent literally - for Jules and Jackie, this movie's married couple celebrating their one year anniversary with a trip to ye ol' cabin in the woods, love is a many tiered drop into madness. 

Like Paul Thomas Anderson did last year with Phantom Thread this here is an ode to the creeping feeling that there's a poison on your dinner plate - that the person making your food and tucking in beside you at night, that person who's tickling your most vulnerable places, might not have been the best of ideas. The devolution of devotion, the termite eggs buried in your hope-stained hearth. You don't truly know that person, sucker, and you never will - you're both lawn darts aimed at your final resting places, and it's an ass-slapping race to get there second.

Doing the duking it out this time, in a refreshing twist, we've got ourselves two final girls - the film plays its lesbian hand lightly and so will I, but it's integral all the same; there's something especially bittersweet about a same-sex success story being perverted like this - all these years of fighting for equal treatment and it ends with the same slasher movies? Fuck yeah! I'm totally down. 

What Keeps You Alive is terribly tense and sad among its home-spun wreckage, a far nastier War of the Roses. But it might wear itself out a bit before the finish line too; you do get a little frustrated with the behavior of the characters at times in the last act, doing dumb things for dumb reasons. But then Minihan will juice things up with a killer sequence (the single-take fight scene shot from a floor below is a particular thrill), or Brittany Allen and Hannah Emily Anderson will give a particularly touching spin to their dances to the death, and you're immediately back onboard. Burn this mother to the ground, I'm in love.
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