Colin Minahan is one of the most exciting filmmakers working in horror right now, primarily because of his ongoing partnership with actress/writer/producer/composer/general all-rounder Brittany Allen, who also happens to be his real-life paramour. Their last collab, It Stains The Sands Red, was one of my favourite movies of Frightfest 2017 not to mention the coolest and most inventive zombie flick in recent memory.
I had big hopes for What Keeps You Alive, but the third team-up from the Minahan-Allen camp (following Sands and 2014’s Extraterrestrial, their first movie together) is really something very special indeed. Following a lesbian couple (Allen and Jigsaw co-star, Hannah Emily Anderson) on a weekend away that goes very, very wrong, the movie is chilling, unpredictable, emotionally-involving, stunning to look at, and super tense.
For most of its run-time, the two women are the only characters onscreen and they more than sell their relationship, as well as the ensuing chaos. It’s difficult to discuss the inner workings of the movie without spoiling it, but suffice to say the escalating carnage is deftly handled by Minahan, who shoots the action with a clear eye, and his tiny cast, who are fully committed in their roles. This is next level horror, the kind that stakes a claim for the genre in a whole new way.
The Frightfest synopsis crucially doesn’t give too much away:
On the eve of their one-year wedding anniversary, Jules and Jackie become embroiled in a merciless fight for their lives when they find themselves pitted against the most unexpected of adversaries. As violence reigns down upon their idyllic forest getaway, the two women engage in a frenzied psychological and vicious battle that will test the very limits of their instinct to survive. Another suspenseful knife to the throat of 21st Century genre cinema from the deliciously warped mind of Colin Minihan, director of It Stains The Sands Red, get ready to gasp in total shock and abject terror.
Directed and written by Colin Minahan and starring Brittany Allen and Hannah Emily Anderson in the two crucial lead roles, with a score also by Allen, What Keeps You Alive is truly one of the most remarkable horror movies you’ll see this year.
Wicked Horror caught up with Minahan at Frightfest 2018 to talk working with his lady, women in horror, and lots more.
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Interview conducted by: Joey Keogh
Camera: Richard Waters
Editing: Richard Waters