Film Review : What keeps you Alive
She fell off a cliff.
911, my wife, she fell off a cliff.
Oh, my God! Please help me.
Some marriages fail because married people come to realize that their interests are different or because there are too many contradictions that lead to endless quarrels. It hurts when you are going through a divorce. And some divorces turn out to be ugly. The only thing you can say is that, under normal circumstances, both individuals pick up their lives and try to find happiness again. Things are completely different for Jules (Brittany Allen) and Jackie (Hannah Emily Anderson). For one of them, divorcing is a hobby. And the divorce happens in a very abrupt and deadly way. The comparison with a black widow is easily made. And the reason is rather lucrative.
A female serial killer.
“What keeps you alive” is a thriller that differs in many ways from similar films. Firstly, this time there’s a female serial killer. You won’t find many women in the “Hall of Fame” of serial killers. The only one I can remember is Aileen Wuornos who was excellently portrayed by Charlize Theron in “Monster” in 2003. It’s mostly men who fill the list of psychopathic, crazy serial killers. And second, they introduce a lesbian couple. The advantage compared with a standard couple is that there’s no question here of the stronger gender dominating the female gender. And before I end up being called a sexist bastard and feminists furiously start to throw with frying pans: I don’t have a problem with sexual orientations whatsoever. I thought it was a unique and interesting starting point and I was curious how the display of power would manifest itself.
Better run for your life, boy.
From the outset, it’s clear Jules demands the male role in this lesbian relationship. Not only does she look more masculine than Jackie. She also moves and dresses like the stronger woman. Her girlfriend is an attractive young lady who takes care of dinner and afterward plays the guitar just for the fun of it. Only it’s not a cheerful campfire song but a strange kind of mesmerizing song about a demon. The phrase “Better run for your life, boy” sounds rather threatening. And certainly when you see Jackie’s frightening look. A bit like how Eddie Vedder sometimes looks at you in the video clip “Jeremy”. That could be the harbinger of disaster.
It didn’t feel like a horror.
“What keeps you alive” certainly isn’t a bad film. However, it’s just an average thriller. A film about how some individuals present themselves very differently from who they actually are. So Jules soon comes to the conclusion that there are things she didn’t really know about her lovely wife. When she discovers that Jackie used to have a different name in the past and that she already had several girlfriends, Jules starts asking herself questions. And before they realize it, the romantic get-together turns into a true struggle in which one of them tries to survive after being seriously injured. There are no real surprises. And there are also incredibly stupid moments, such as dinner with Jackie’s childhood friend and husband. An implausible moment where I started to shake my head energetically. The result is murderous and the actions being taken might fit a horror. Still, I didn’t think it was a horror after all.
Another cabin in the woods.
Well, it’s not really original. Every time it’s about a cabin in the woods, you can assume that terrible things will happen. Admittedly, the film contains some beautiful images. The immense forest and the vast lake are adequately used as a backdrop. And the acting of both Brittany Allen and Hannah Emily Anderson is far from bad. I found Anderson especially convincing. The way her dark side takes over is wonderful to see. But you can’t really call it more than a cat and mouse game. Even though the rowing boat scene can be called nerve-racking. And the final twist is sort of resourceful. However, this doesn’t ensure that this Canadian thriller really exceeds the average.
My rating 4/10
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M. Night Shyamalan | Old – Official Trailer
A thriller about a family on a tropical holiday who discover that the secluded beach where they are relaxing for a few hours is somehow causing them to age rapidly reducing their entire lives into a single day.
July 23, 2021
M. Night Shyamalan
Rufus Sewell, Thomasin McKenzie, Embeth Davidtz, Eliza Scanlen, Abbey Lee, Alex Wolff, Gael García Bernal
A Quiet Place Part II | Review
This review is spoiler-free.
It’s not often that a film comes along and demands to be seen on the big screen, creating a cinematic experience unlike any other and that’s something the Quiet Place films definitely do. I may have learnt this the hard way, by watching the first film on a plane and not really enjoying it, only to re-watch it again at home and really like it. But now, seeing A Quiet Place Part II in an IMAX cinema, having not been in a cinema for months, it is truly a spectacular cinematic event.
After a brief flashback sequence to when the creatures first arrived, A Quiet Place Part II picks up exactly where the first film left off. If you’ve seen the first, you’ll know that it ended in a very exciting position and now we witness the Abbott family struggling to navigate and struggling to survive in the post-apocalyptic world, ravaged by monsters that hunt by sound.
AQP2 is a really tense and engaging thriller film however it never quite reaches the heights that its predecessor did. The first film managed to create a level of immense tension and sustain that pretty much the entire way through the film’s runtime. Here, it feels like there were certain scenes that were very tense and have you squirming in your seat but the bits between these scenes lack the same sense of dread and fear that the first did and in that sense the sequel is not quite as tight as the first.
At just 97 minutes long, it’s only 7 minutes longer than the first but it does feel quite a bit longer. The first film goes by in a flash and it’s over before you know it and whilst AQP2 doesn’t feel overly long, the pacing of it makes you notice the runtime that bit more than the first film.
There are a few very suspenseful and scary moments in it, particularly the opening flashback scene to the Abbott family’s first encounter with the creatures. In fact, even that pesky nail from the first film makes a small cameo here but what stands out so much and what makes it a real ‘cinema film’ is the fantastic sound design. Every single time one of the creatures is even remotely near one of the main characters or any time that the creatures just might be nearby, the sound design completely draws you into it and makes you feel like you’re there and that’s what makes these frightening moments all the more impactful.
A lot of the criticisms and faults with A Quiet Place Part II do largely come from the fact that it’s not as good as the first and it’s weaker by comparison, but it’s still a very smart and entertaining film that provides some genuine chills. The concept of creatures that hunt on sound is such a great idea and it plays out on screen so well. Every single time one of the main characters make even the slightest noise your heart stops and your hold your breath, waiting to see if the creatures are going to show up and if our heroes will meet their untimely demise.
One issue I had with the film was that you could always tell where the next scare was going to come from. The film is by no means predictable, it just sticks to some generic tropes and it’s clear where it’s going. Everyone knows in a scary situation in a horror movie you don’t split up. But that doesn’t stop our protagonists from doing so and it’s small details like that that when they happen you can immediately tell the consequences of certain actions will crop up again a few scenes later. But even when that payoff comes it’s still shocking and the film still delivers in the thrills and scares that you want from a film like this.
A Quiet Place Part II is a riveting and frightening film and whilst it doesn’t quite match the level of tension achieved in the first, it is nonetheless a hugely entertaining film and one that you absolutely must see on the biggest screen you can.
A Quiet Place Part II is released in UK cinemas on June 3
A Quiet Place Part 2 – Movie Review
Following the events at home, the Abbott family now face the terrors of the outside world. Forced to venture into the unknown, they realise the creatures that hunt by sound are not the only threats lurking beyond the sand path. Luke Hearfield gives his thoughts on the long-awaited sequel once again directed by John Krasinski and starring his real life wife Emily Blunt. It’s time to head back to the cinema and enjoy the experience of sitting in a room full of strangers and sharing the collective feeling of deliciously uncomfortable silence.
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