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Stay Alive - The Director's Cut (Widescreen

A movie directed by William Brent Bell

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Dumb as a video game.

  • Jul 6, 2011
Rating:
-3
*1/2 out of ****

"Stay Alive" is an almost perfect example of what most would call a "so-bad-it's-good" film, bumped up from perfection only by the fact that, while there's plenty unintentional laughter to be had, none of it is genuine, honorable, or worth remembering. Sure, I admit that I had a few good chuckles whilst watching this less-than-fine product, although will I watch it again so that I can laugh again as well? No, I don't think so.

Literally the only thing you need to know about "Stay Alive" is that it sucks. You don't need to know much about the plot, because you can read about it in a short synopsis; and you don't need to know about the characters because honestly, you've seen them all before, in some other uber-forgettable, stupid horror movie featuring dimwitted humans and even more dimwitted paranormal spirits from beyond the grave.

Video Games are often times worthless distractions and nothing more- nothing less, and maybe this is why so many people enjoy playing them. Video Games are the obsession of the film's central bunch; Hutch (Jon Foster), Abigail (Samaire Armstrong), Swink (Frankie Munez), October (Sofia Bush), and Phineus (Jimmi Simpson). They discover a brand-new online source of gaming entertainment, called "Stay Alive", after a friend suffers a horrific, tragic, and all-together mysterious demise after playing it one night.

And the next night, the main group, along with a friend (Adam Goldberg), plays the game for themselves. Almost instantly, it becomes clear that this is a survival horror game unlike any other. People from the group start dying after their characters within the game die. And they die in the same exact way, too. The killer is none other than the infamous serial killer, Elizabeth Bathory, who haunts the game. I guess I won't tell you how or why she haunts the game, not that it should matter to anyone, because if you take my advice; "Stay Alive" isn't a good enough horror movie for you to want to see it.

I bet a few ears perked up when I mentioned Adam Goldberg's name. He's a talent who I'd like to see in more films, or at least more films than he typically cares to be in. I remember seeing him in "Dazed and Confused" not long ago, and there he was good. Here, he is not. The problem with Goldberg, in particular, is that in "Stay Alive", he is merely amusing, and never truly "good". In a sense, he is no better than the film's more decent scenes; which are also merely amusing, and never truly good.

Director William Brent Bell must think he's a sly genius for making this film. He must think that he has crafted a truly scary, creepy, and intelligent tale of virtual terror. The trouble with films about spirits, or ghosts if you may, is that you have to have sympathy for both your ghouls and your humans, although this film doesn't seem to care much about either. Anyways, moving on. Horror movies often have more stylistic venues than most films of any other genre would have. This one looks decent, but something about the style, for me, spells out the word of "bland".

At best, this is glorified camp that never lives up to what is expected of it. It is lame, derivative, and all-together rather unoriginal. It is not well-acted; just as it is not well-made. I can't say I was disappointed, but when the best thing you can say about a horror flick is that stoners might enjoy it, you're in trouble. Even killers deserve solid films made about them. Elizabeth Bathory has yet to get hers.

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More Stay Alive reviews
review by . November 01, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
So that I wouldn't have to stay awake.     "Stay Alive" is a bland horror movie about a video game that kills people the same way they die inside the game. The friends that play this game soon figure this out, and then realize they must defeat the Blood Countess from the video game or accept their fates.     We've had video tapes in "The Ring," a deadly website in "Fear Dotcom," and of course video games movies such as this one. "Stay Alive" does some things …
review by . January 31, 2007
The title says a lot, but allow me a few words of explanation. Stay Alive is a fun horror movie about a demonically possessed video game and a group of gamers who fall prey to it. Stay Alive is actually a video game still in the testing stages which is based (loosely) on the legend of Countess Bathory. However, the gamers soon find that what happens in the video game, happens in the real world as blood begins flying and gamers start dying.     The plot is very formulaic, but …
About the reviewer
Ryan J. Marshall ()
Ranked #11
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
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About this movie

Wiki

Straight from the set-'em-up and knock-'em-down school of teen-horror filmmaking,Stay Alivegives literal meaning to the parental lament, "Those games will kill you someday." Not that you'll find any parents in this gimmicky thriller set in New Orleans; they're conspicuously absent when Hutch (Jon Foster) and his hardcore gamer pals discover "Stay Alive," a mysterious next-generation computer game that has a nasty way of precipitating mayhem, horror, and death. If your character dies in the game, you're doomed to die in identically grisly fashion in real life. So, just don't play the game, right? WRONG. This being a teen horror flick with a screenplay that makes no sense whatsoever, the gamer pals (including victim #2, Hutch's boss, played with game-addicted fervor by Adam Goldberg) obsessively investigate the game and its creepyRing-like origins in the 17th century murder spree of a woman known as "The Blood Countess." Because movies like this are best viewed on a steady diet of Pop Tarts and Ritalin, Jimmi Simpson earns top honors as the gamer pal with the creepiest behavior, andMalcolm in the Middlefans will enjoy the presence of Frankie Muniz as a gamer geek whose primary fashion statement consists of grimy T-shirts and green plastic poker-visors. While not nearly as fun or clever as theFinal Destinationmovies,Stay Alivedelivers a few good deaths while blatantly stealing most of its horror highlights fromJu-Onand ...
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Details

Director: William Brent Bell
Genre: Horror
Release Date: March 24, 2006
DVD Release Date: September 19, 2006
Runtime: 85 minutes
Studio: Buena Vista Home Entertainment / Hollywood
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