Missy has 24 hours to rescue her younger sister, who’s been taken by a dangerous ex-boyfriend.

Badass female protagonists (and directors) are on the rise. ‘Keeper’ is a thrilling action film from Anna Remus, following Missy (played by Anna Rizzo) as she tries to rescue her younger sister. While the plot line doesn’t try anything fancy to create any unexpected twists, the story relies on backstory relationship developments to drive the passion and ultimately the killer action scenes.

My late sister and I had a really complicated relationship, which usually involved me being the “fixer.” Once that cycle starts, it quickly gets messy. I remember one time in particular, when I was picking her up from somewhere shady, and thought, “You should be glad I’m here to save your ass. You’ve pushed everyone else away.” That night I imagined how our story would look if things were worse—if she were a woman that society didn’t feel the need to protect. So Keeper was born from a real codependent relationship and my fear that someday, I wouldn’t be there to save her when it counted.

After she passed, I started having violent dreams about her ex-boyfriend (who was a shitty person, but far from a drug-dealing pimp). They were so graphic and persistent that they prompted me to seek help from a grief counselor. I was interested in why my brain decided to use him as a scapegoat. The dreams made me think about the perspective illusion in revenge films. Technically, Missy and Bill want the same thing: Jess. Bill is the villain of this story, as it’s told from Missy’s perspective—but it’s not hard to imagine a Romeo/Juliet kind of love story, in which the villain is the family member who is always trying to tear the lovers apart. It makes you question who you’re really rooting for.

As its core, this story is about the duality of unhealthy relationships. Jess needs Missy to protect her, but Missy’s behavior shows us that she needs someone to protect. This is a role she was given as a child, and now she’s going to dangerous lengths to fulfill it.