Stay Alive (2006)


When this project was first announced I immediately thought of an old early-90's Full Moon film called Arcade, where a new virtual reality game takes the lives of enthusiastic teens. The whole concept of a video game killing its users the same way they die in the game isn't very scary nor original, so they were shredding on thin ice is it was. Regardless, production went on and the film opened to theaters with a number of negative reviews from critics and fans. I watched the movie with an open mind and was left unimpressed. Unlike how Hollywood usually works, a movie is made based on a game, but in this case a movie is made with the hopes of a game to follow. I have to admit that being a fan of survival horror that the game does look pretty interesting -- it's something I would definitely try out. In fact, the game footage seemed scarier than the film itself.

So the story basically follows a group of gamer-teens who lost a friend recently due to unusual circumstances. They discover that around his death he played an unreleased game called Stay Alive, which is loosely based on the legend of Elizabeth Bathory -- a woman who was rumored to bath in the blood of young women in the delusion that it would keep her from aging. After the funeral the group gets together and decides to try the game out. Normally survival horror games are one-player to keep the scary atmosphere going, but in this case we've got a handful of people playing together, which essentially ends up more like an action game. Shortly after they stop playing strange things begin happening, and naturally the bodies start piling up. It doesn't take long before our leads link the game to the deaths of their friends, especially since they seem to die in the same way as they did in the game.

From the misleading pictures and the look of the poster, it would seem like the audience would be in for a gory ride - incorrect. The film actually doesn't have much as far as gore, and when some was shown it was a very quick shot. I suppose this was to be expected considering the PG-13 rating. Aside from that, another big fault (next to the ridiculous story) is the fact that stuff from the game actually appears in real life, like the "Blood Countess" who shows up in more than one occasion. It looks good on the game, but not when it's mixed with live action, because then we're just witness to some really cheesy-looking computer generated images. What they failed to realize was just because something in the game is scary doesn't mean it'll be scary in person. Maybe if they had an actual live person playing the "Blood Countess" it would be somewhat scary, but not when it's the same bitch from the game. Before the movie was released the creators expressed interest in creating the actual game if the movie resulted in big numbers at the box office. It doesn't look like that'll be happening.

Although mildly entertaining, the the game itself seemed much scarier than the film was. Don't bother unless you're big on Frankie Muniz.
Although mildly entertaining, the the game itself seemed much scarier than the film was. Don't bother unless you're big on Frankie Muniz.