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HORROR

What keeps you Alive

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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
Links: IMDB

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HORROR

Prey | 20th Century Studios | Hulu

The origin story of the Predator in the world of the Comanche Nation 300 years ago. Naru, a skilled female warrior, fights to protect her tribe against one of the first highly-evolved Predators to land on Earth.

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Genre:

Action, Drama, Horror

Release Date:

20222 (Hulu)

Director:

Dan Trachtenberg

Cast:

Amber Midthunder, Dane DiLiegro, Stefany Mathias

Plot Summary:

The origin story of the Predator in the world of the Comanche Nation 300 years ago. Naru, a skilled female warrior, fights to protect her tribe against one of the first highly-evolved Predators to land on Earth.

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HORROR

Choose or Die – A Miss For Netflix

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Netflix’s home page suggestions can always be hit or miss, and unfortunately its latest release ‘Choose or Die’ falls into the category of the latter. Captivated by Asa Butterfield on the poster, I was curious to see what this film had to offer and begrudgingly it didn’t have a lot.

We follow Kayla, a broke student who has a lot to deal with in terms of her family situation and being the sole provider for herself and her mum. She then stumbles upon a retro video game from the 80s which forces her to choose and ultimately leads to various chain reactions of horrific events involving people close to her.

Lola Evans as Kayla and Asa Butterfield as Isaac

The premise of the film sounds interesting, however, I think it swings and misses quite early into the film’s first act. Eddie Marsan sets the tone and trail of interest for Choose or Die as we are introduced to this sadistic game and the chain of events it will inevitably pursue. 

Choose or Die doesn’t make it easy to empathise with its characters, finding any connection to Kayla or Isaac was difficult. This ‘are they aren’t they’ subplot lingers throughout the film’s narrative but adds nothing to the overarching story. The supporting characters, such as Thea and Laura, are much more interesting and genuinely have you intrigued as to what decisions they will make.

What stood out to me was the violent and gore-like scenes of 80s horrors, with some pretty good stomach churning special effects make-up. Those intense scenes, one involving a rat, had me genuinely glued to the screen, anticipating what may happen next. Choose or Die’s strongest component are the early moral decisions Kayla has to make and ultimately demonstrate Meakin’s passion for the horror genre.

Ioanna Kimbook as Grace in Choose or Die, seen here in the diner in one of the more grotesque decisive moments for Kayla

The way in which this film is shot, felt very “student-esque” with its lackluster camera movements and setting. The set design lacked little depth, except for Isaac’s room which is full of detail, therefore making the world feel small and less three dimensional. An element which pulled me out of this cinematic experience, was the fact that this was evidently filmed in the United Kingdom, and the cast contained predominantly a lot of British actors doing an American accent so I wasn’t fully immersed into this world. 

Meakins clearly uses his passion for the horror genre to influence this film’s dark tone, from it’s leading characters’ moral compass as well as the gorey visuals that inevitably come with those decisions. The whole world feels cold and derelict, be it the place in which Kayla cleans or the housing estate of which she lives in, this is an unwelcoming world that no-one wants to comfort you in. 

Choose or Die isn’t a film that will stick out as one that defined 2022, however I’m sure someone will take something away from this film, be it’s reference to 80s gaming or the violent and graphic elements that the director is clearly passionate about. 

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HORROR

Off Season – To Premiere Exclusively on Shudder

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Shudder, AMC Networks’ premium streaming service for horror, thriller and the supernatural, announced that OFFSEASON will be available exclusively to stream on the platform starting on Friday, June 10, 2022. As a Shudder exclusive, the platform will be the only subscription service that will carry the film in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.

Upon receiving a mysterious letter that her mother’s gravesite has been vandalized, in OFFSEASON, Marie (Donahue) quickly returns to the isolated offshore island where her late mother is buried. When she arrives, she discovers that the island is closing for the offseason with the bridges raised until Spring, leaving her stranded. One strange interaction with the local townspeople after another, Marie soon realizes that something is not quite right in this small town. She must unveil the mystery behind her mother’s troubled past in order to make it out alive.

Check out the film’s trailer below and read our review HERE as it debuted during SXSW 2021

Written and directed by Mickey Keating (Psychopaths), OFFSEASON stars Jocelin Donahue (Doctor Sleep), Joe Swanberg (The Rental, “Easy”), Richard Brake (3 From HellMandy), Melora Walters (The Pale Door, “Pen15”) and Jeremy Gardner (After MidnightThe Mind’s Eye).

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