Colin Minihan is fast becoming one of my favourite contemporary directors. Whilst Grave Encounters didn’t ignite my passion for horror, it did prove to be a solid albeit generic movie and I’ve yet to see Extraterrestrial, his sophomore feature collaboration with fellow Vicious Brothers director Stuart Ortiz.
Last year however, Minihan released, It Stains The Sands Red with a simple, but fresh take on the zombie apocalypse genre.
After a run in the theatre circuits, his fourth feature, What Keeps You Alive has been released on Home Entertainment through Shout Factory and Minihan’s restrained and brutal storytelling once again provides a gripping, hard-hitting narrative that keeps you hooked to its conclusion.
Minihan teams up with Brittany Allen, who also triggered a powerhouse performance for ISTSR as Molly, and proves that this was no one-trick accomplishment as she acts her heart out once more in WKYA.
Allen plays one half of a female married couple, Jules, who celebrates her one-year anniversary in a remote cabin with her partner, Jackie (Hannah Emily Anderson). What should be a romantic getaway soon turns sinister however when Jackie soon displays a dark past that she has been harbouring all this time.
Whilst Allen superbly plays the broken and resilient Jules, Anderson taps into the psychotic and twisted Jackie with absolute glee and appears to relish in the macabre moments. Between them, the leads are a joy to watch on-screen, in their ying-yang relationship, which sees the power oscillate where the tension escalates to the bitter end.
Minihan also exploits the natural terrain to the full advantage, showcasing the isolation and insecurity that Jules faces during her ordeal.
Whilst some of the beats are lacking and you question some of the choices the characters make, Minihan offers a fun and riveting ride that delves into the fractured heart of relationships. How much do you really know about your partner and are you willing to risk your life to uncover what lurks in the darkness?
It also boasts a killer soundtrack including this haunting track:
– Saul Muerte