Frankie Muniz, Samaire Armstrong, Sophia Bush, Jon
Foster, Adam Goldberg
William Brent Bell
With so many other horror genre storytelling standards being
overused to the point of dilution, it was time for someone
to try and introduce a more modern means by which to initiate
a series of teen deaths, peppered with a lot of cheap scares.
To this effect, we have Stay Alive, which is obviously
trying to take a visual medium, videogames, and attach a monstrous
Ring-like curse to it.
The story begins with the murder of Hutch (Foster) MacNeil's
friend Loomis, who is found hanging in his home. Of course,
some of his belongings find their way into Hutch's hands,
including a game called Stay Alive that Loomis was
playing before his death. Having no problem with the morbidity
of it all, Hutch and his stereotypical friends (the goth,
the geek, the unwashed gamer) all decide to play this game.
Of course, they quickly find out that when they die in the
game, they die in real life. With very little research, they
discover that the monster in the game is Countess Bathory,
who was notorious for draining young women to regain her youth.
Apparently, she's locked up in a tower in Louisiana and the
game is a representation of where she's located.
Honestly, the story for this movie is filled with holes and
inaccuracies. So many, in fact, that one has to wonder if
anyone outside of the director read the whole thing. There's
no explanation how the game was made, how it got into the
hands of Loomis and how any of the events resolved after the
monster is finally defeated. With how poorly the movie is
edited, it's hard to believe there's actually a coherent story
to be told here.
Also, when it comes to the videogame aspect of the movie,
it feels rather cheap and sloppy. Names of games are dropped
(Fatal Frame, Q-Bert)
in the flow of conversation and when two of the actors talk
about a game (Silent Hill
4), the whole of the conversation feels as if it were
written by someone who has never even played the game. Considering
"CliffyB" Bleszinski is credited as a consultant on this
movie, I still have to wonder how they got it so wrong.
Ultimately, this movie is largely a giant advertisement,
with tons of screen time for game-boxes, controllers and even
the customized gaming laptop from a company who I won't mention
because they already got more than enough worth from their
Acting-wise, I'm sure there is some talent here, but it's
lost behind a bad script and worse directing. Its hard to
sympathize with characters that have paper thin motives and
event fall in love with each other at the drop of the hat.
The ending portion of the movie is so badly done that any
depth created by the actors is squandered.
And, then there's the graphics of the game and monsters,
all which look pretty mediocre. It's like they took later
90's era computer graphics and thought that it would be great
for the real world visuals. There are a few cheap scares in
the movie, but these are certainly not from the visuals.
Stay Alive is obviously some movie studio's attempt
to cash in on the growing videogame playing demographic without
actually having a license to exploit. Because of this, the
movie feels more like a stereotypical mess that makes gamers
look like complete sociopaths. Not that kind of message you
want to send about your target audience, eh?