What Keeps You Alive — Brittany Allen

How much can you really know about another person? 

One thing you should know about me is that I love dramatic and thrilling films, though they don’t always love me. When I was younger, my mother, sister, and I watched the film “What Lies Beneath” together. The film stars Michelle Pfeiffer and Harrison Ford and centers around the premise that the wife in the film thinks she is going either insane or seeing ghosts as her husband’s past comes back to haunt them. Needless to say, it isn’t a horror movie or anything like that, but a certain bathtub scene pretty much scared me half to death. I kid you not, I made my sister sit with me in the bathroom every time I needed to take a bath for weeks. I have still yet to rewatch that film in twenty years. 

I mention this tidbit of my life because I am secretly an extreme chicken shit and thrillers tend to put irrational thoughts in my head along with newfound fears. I’m serious, just ask my sister, I truly am that easily frightened. So, the fact that a film which is a thriller filled with violence and deep unease was the inspiration for this month’s column is very intriguing to me and I am thoroughly both excited and nervous to share it with you all.

This month’s Femme Pick is the original soundtrack to the film, What Keeps You Alive composed by Brittany Allen. 

Released in 2018, the film centers around Jackie and her wife, Jules (who happens to be played by the very composer of the soundtrack) after the former takes them up to her family’s remote old cabin. The two seem to be very much in love, a typical married couple, until a childhood friend of Jackie’s comes to the cabin, calling her by the name “Megan”. It appears Jules’ wife hasn’t been completely honest with her, but when it seems that everything has been cleared up, Jackie/Megan shoves Jules off a cliff while they are in a loving embrace, clearly intent on killing her. She gazes over the cliff, thinking she has done the deed, and walks away with absolutely zero remorse and no sign of emotion upon her face.

Without going into great detail, as to not potentially completely spoil the film for you, this becomes the general plot in the film; Jackie/Megan hunting her wife, motivated by a life insurance payout, and Jules fighting for her life, discovering more dark secrets about the woman she thought she knew. The overall theme of this feature can be described in one quote from the film itself, “Only kill what keeps you alive.”

Now, let us turn our attention to the film score itself, which I find utterly fascinating and bone chilling. It perfectly accentuates the ever evolving and highly deadly game of cat and mouse between Jackie/Megan and Jules, and becomes increasingly darker as the film progresses. 

Brittany Allen truly demonstrates that female composers are just as talented and able to evoke specific emotions via a single song as the males, who seem to receive more attention and accolades. I shall add this is merely my personal opinion, and that this is not a review, just my personal thoughts being shared with you, the reader.

I left one in the city

I left one in the hills

I left you when I went I went running across the river to

His bed

I left two in the morning with their mouths open wide

Comin for another on my knees in the night

There’s a demon inside,

Bloodlet it out, bloodlet it out

Til you love me again

There’s a demon inside,

Bloodlet it out, bloodlet it out

Til you love me again

Roll demon roll, roll demon roll

There’s a demon inside

Better run for your life, boy

When I first heard ‘Bloodlet’, sung by the one Brittany Allen, I was further enraptured. It was the perfect way to end the soundtrack, I think. The whole album is a crescendo of flight or fight, delving deeper into the deadly chase and obsession with eliminating the prey. All in all, I adore this album, it perfectly compliments any mystery or thriller novels I am reading.

I love every song on the album, but notable favorites include:

  • A Disturbance
  • An Accident
  • The Chase
  • Bodies In The Water
  • Bloodlet

Who exactly is Brittany Allen?

Brittany Allen is a Canadian actress and composer.

Read more about her here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brittany_Allen

Want to listen?

 Here are some links!

Stay tuned for next month’s Femme Pick!

Enjoyed this album showcase? Check out the full archives of Erin’s series, Vinyl Femmes & RPMs, here: https://vinylwritermusic.com/vinyl-femmes-rpms-archives/

Published by Erin O'Dell

Erin O’Dell lives in Red Lion, PA, USA with her boyfriend, 5 cats, a snake, and a lot of ridiculously cringe-worthy jokes. She is an ethics, history, and philosophy of world religion studies major. She may or may not also be a mermaid. She enjoys video games, vinyl, macaroni & cheese, reading, Bollywood films, bowling, and outer space. Her favorite music genres include Symphonic Rock, Heavy Metal, Indie, and Soundtracks. Her favorite bands are Counting Crows and In This Moment.

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