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Is What Keeps You Alive a True Story?

July 31, 2020
3 min read

‘What Keeps You Alive’ is an atmospheric thriller that follows Jules (Brittany Allen) and Jackie (Hannah Emily Anderson) who decide to celebrate their 1st anniversary in a cabin in the woods. But as soon as Jules starts settling into their peaceful abode, she learns some dark secrets about Jackie’s past. As a result of this discovery, the two of them turn against one another and an intense game of cat-and-mouse ensues between them. While Jackie, who is a psychopath, terrifies and enslaves Jules with her vicious instinct to kill, Jules uses her wit to survive.

The film’s storyline is clearly grounded to reality but what adds more heft to its realism is its overall production and authentic filming locations. So, in case, you’re wondering if it’s based on a true story, here is everything you need to know.

Is What Keeps You Alive Based on a True Story?

No, ‘What Keeps You Alive’ is not based on a true story. However, it draws its inspiration from a real-life fear of not knowing what’s going on in your partner’s head. In fact, as humans, we don’t even know much about ourselves. We only latch onto a given identity and then mold ourselves accordingly. But beneath these identities, we can all have darker secrets that nobody knows about. The film harps on this notion by first depicting a happy couple, Jackie and Jules, who celebrate their first anniversary. But even after being together for over a year, Jules never figures out that her wife is a psychopath. Similarly, in real life, we don’t know who’s capable of doing what. We just take a leap of faith like Jules and hope that we don’t end up with the worst kind.

When writer/director Colin Minihan first penned down the script of the film, the two main characters were of opposite genders. However, because of last-minute casting changes, he took a step back from the standard character tropes of the genre and decided to make a small tweak in the script by representing an LGBTQ relationship. In an interview, he explained that he did not want to portray a skewed “male-perspective” lesbian relationship between the movie’s character. So instead of overly sexualizing the film, he focused more on its thrilling premise. With this approach, the director just portrays the couple as any other couple and in turn, normalizes same-sex relationships.

In another interview, the director also revealed that he always wanted to make a genre film without the elements of the supernatural in it. Moreover, he had also researched several real-life tales of sociopaths who killed their partners and got away with it. Many of them got so used to the rush of killing their partners that they went on to do the same until they eventually got caught. The stories of these sociopaths got him wondering what truly goes in the minds of a killer, and that led to the inception of the movie’s script.

Read More: What Keeps You Alive Ending, Explained

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