With theaters still mostly closed due to COVID-19 and normal business not likely to resume anytime soon, Netflix‘s position within the movie industry has become much more important. This marks a big shift, as multiplex chains make top-down decisions on what films to screen, whereas Netflix can put almost anything up and watch how their audience responds to it. This has helped some smaller titles gain way more attention than they ordinarily would, with an excellent example being tense indie horror What Keeps You Alive.
The Canadian movie premiered at SXSW in March 2018 and was released on VOD the following August. We named it as one of the best horror pics of 2018, but it was quickly lost in a deluge of other content and was largely forgotten. Now, however, it’s zipping up the charts on Netflix, making its way onto the Top 10 most-watched films list, where the unknowable algorithm has decided it’s time for it to shine.
The story follows married couple Jackie and Jules, who take a trip to a remote cabin in the wilderness to celebrate their first anniversary. Soon after they arrive, Jules begins to realize that Jackie might not have been entirely honest about her past, resulting in a string of shocking revelations that eventually leads to intense bloody violence.
What Keeps You Alive certainly has a great horror pedigree, as it’s directed by Colin Minihan, who genre aficionados may know as one half of the Vicious Brothers. They’re responsible for helming the truly kickass Grave Encounters movies (Grave Encounters 3: The Beginning is apparently now in development), the anime series Temple and an upcoming remake of 1998 slasher Urban Legend.
Netflix has been knocking it out of the park when it comes to obscure horror lately, so I tip my cap to whoever’s purchasing the rights to films like this and the heavy metal-themed We Summon the Darkness. Summer 2020 is a weird one, but at least we can rely on streaming services to keep us from becoming too bored.