When a group of friends play a mysterious underground video game they enter a waking nightmare - when they die in the game they die in real life in the same grisly manner. Studio: Buena Vista Home Video Release Date: 05/... more »11/2007 Run time: 160 minutes« less
Chad B. (abrnt1) from CABERY, IL Reviewed on 2/20/2012...
Watered down PG-13 horror that might scare small children (might). This film is a mess. Amazes me how many hideous films are made and get actual theatrical release when so many superior films end up going direct to dvd. The PG-13 horror fad needs to end asap. Pointless drivel.
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
BETTER THAN I THOUGHT... but not without problems
Chris Kennison | Jefferson City, Mo United States | 11/12/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"First of all, I didn't have too high of hopes for STAY ALIVE going in. I had heard numerous negative reviews and I can't stand the ARROGANT and works more than he deserves to FRANKIE MUNIZ. By the way, Frankie must have the greatest agent of all time. Not only does he keep working, but he manages to get a pivotal part in this movie when he should have been one of the death scenes.
STAY ALIVE actually has a pretty fun premise. Ridiculous. Yes. A ripoff of THE RING. A little bit. Yet, if you can manage to remember that your watching a movie and can forget reality for a couple of hours, STAY ALIVE actually is pretty fun and actually has a really effective and scary edge to it. In fact, the whole story of Countess Elizabeth Bathory (Maria Kalinina) is very intriguing, disturbing and a tremendous idea to build a scary movie around. The moments when she appears, or just stands in a corner in her bright red victorian dress are frightening.
The movie centers around an underground video game that seems to reach beyond the PS2 console and effect real life. A ghost story bottled into a video game disc.
So, where does STAY ALIVE go wrong? Many places... and that's the problem. They took this incredible premise of a women who thinks the blood of young girls can keep her young, and wasted it. That to me is the biggest problem. They wasted a FANTASTIC chance to do something cool and unique, and instead did what all scary movies do... wasted time explaining and showing the unknowing characters trying to get each other to believing each other and much worse, getting the authorities to believe them.
Instead, they should have spent more time INSIDE THE GAME!! They should have abandoned the real life encounters and delved into a COOL WORLDish situation. They should have teamed up with the animators of the FINAL FANTASY MOVIES and did something cool, and more importantly, something unforgettable.
The story behind the game was enough to suffice. It was the coolest part of the movie, but 30 minutes in, the characters strapped into their headsets, grabbed their controllers, played for 3 minutes and quit.
This is where the movie, to me, didn't stay alive. It died. It lost its edge and got boring. Up to the point when they got into the game, I was glued. I liked it, despite goofball Frankie Muniz sitting there with his viser on sideways and talking. The moment the movie quit relying on the game to tell the story, the movie died.
Finally, sure, I didn't like that Frankie Muniz was in the movie, but the fact that he or his agent managed to talk the directors or writers into giving him this pivotal part at the end of the film and made him seem like the hero of the film seemed like just that... like an agent or himself had used their pull to weasel him into that final scene. Ridiculous and unnecessary. It was enough for me to hate the movie, just the fact that he didn't buy it.
This could have been a really good film, but the creators made a lot of ill choices and it should have been better. I took 2 stars away for the lack of video game realiance, and another for Frankie Muniz not dieing."
The Play's the Thing
Dark Mechanicus JSG | Fortified Bunker, USSA | 04/19/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"It's going to be a long weekend. You just broke up with your Chickie of the Week, you can't cook, next week at the office is gonna be Hell, new Boss, new Hellerman project, the roommate just got laid off so it looks like you are going to be financing the next three months of utilities, rent, TiVO, the works.
One of those. Now: you *could* be productive this weekend, you Schmo.
But in the end---sh*t, the weather's bad, why not lay back, get some rest, pack it in with some Wild Turkey (or JD, if that's your thing) and the latest X-Box slaughterama, and give your synapses a rest, Cochise? Why not? Life is short: you could die at any moment.
So you pop this little thing called "Stay Alive" in the hopper: hey, it's Bootleg! And before you know it, you're drawn into its deep, delicious, sick little St. Vitus dance of antebellum plantations and blood-slurping countesses and those lonely, forlorn groves of cyprus trees, and as you maneuver through crypts and tombs and catacombs, your crazy week and everything else---the rent, the surly landlord, what the h*ll you're doing with your life---starts to fall away.
And that's when something shifts. Something moves---fast. Something in the blue-black shadows of the kitchen.
But there's no one else in the apartment but you, you know?
Well, *was*: now there's you...and It.
That is "Stay Alive", boiled down to its guts: a bunch of twenty-somethings get ahold of this sick little bootleg video game based on the wild and woolly life and times of Elizabeth Bathory, the 16th-century "Blood Countess" who amused herself by bathing the blood of maidens she had slaughtered.
I went in expecting nothing more than a reeking turd, and was sufficiently creeped out. H*ll, I'm looking forward to the unrated DVD: "Stay Alive" delivered in its forlorn, decayed, worn-down locations, its seedy, crawly, pre-Katrina New Orleans, its solid cast (with the exception of Sophia Bush, whose skanky 'alternative' Goth/slacker chick October---with her cheek-wart/cancer & scabby knees made me nauseous---I could have done without) carries the day and---astonishingly---made me actually care about what sick, nasty fate was about to befall our heroes.
And what about little Billy Slaughter (Rex, and man, talk about a great stage name!)---well is it just me, or does he do a middle-aged angst-ridden Mel Gibston just a bit too stunningly?
Anyway: this one has buzzing, burping game-consoles, and flitting shadows, and a mounting atmosphere of doom and dread, and competent acting, and with an unrated DVD no doubt plenty of goop and gore---frankly, I'm sold. I played, I died, I rebooted.
The glory of "Stay Alive"---helmed by William Brent Bell, who has some fine horror reflexes---is that it gets right down to the guts of what makes "Resident Evil" and "Silent Hill" so damned fun: as you dig deeper into the guts of the game, you start looking over your shoulder. I mean, Jesus, *anything* could be staking you out from the shadows of the closet, right?
Game over? Nah, let's reboot.
Stay Awake, I Mean Alive--A Thrilling (Yawn) New Horror Flic
K. Harris | Las Vegas, NV | 03/12/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I like a good scary movie as much (or more) than the next person. But, truth be told, they aren't that easy to find anymore. Still, as I recently told a friend, I guess I'll watch anything--you never know what unexpected delights might be awaiting you, even in the unlikeliest of places. Because that's just it! I have hope, hope that I'll be pleasantly surprised. That hope abandoned me as I settled in to view "Stay Alive." Let's be honest--this movie is no worse than dozens of other movies that are virtually indistinguishable from it in terms of casting and plotting. Basically, an attractive TV ready ensemble is knocked off one by one--and that's the same description for about 5671 other movies as well. My reaction to "Stay Alive," then, while it is competently made--there are absolutely no original ideas or images presented.
The hook of "Stay Alive" is intriguing enough. A new videogame unleashes a murderous spell. If you are killed in the game, you will meet a similar gruesome end in the real world. Bummer. So, of course, our young cast all play the game. And they start dropping dead. One would hope, at least, for some creative carnage--but not here, seen it all before. The silliness that ensues include the requisite bumbling police investigation, the burgeoning romance, and the clues that lead to an immense estate (that apparently no one knows about) that resembles the environment in the game. I would say that the graphics in the game are the most visually interesting aspect of "Stay Alive," but this seems rather silly--I'd just play a game if this was what was most important.
Listen, I didn't hate this movie. The problem is that it barely registers at all. Jon Foster and Samaire Armstrong are likable and attractive enough. Foster, especially, has potential--he was great in the overlooked "The Door in the Floor" with Jeff Bridges. And Armstrong proved appealing in her TV roles on "The OC" and "Entourage." I wish them well with future choices.
You can watch "Stay Alive" if you like these films. You might even find it passable entertainment. But as it blends into the hundreds of similar films, is there anything that will cause you to remember this one fondly? Nothing stood out for me--except maybe that Frankie Muniz (from "Malcolm in the Middle") shouldn't wear a visor. But really, no one needs to wear a visor--or should, for that matter! I didn't need to see "Stay Alive" to come to that conclusion. Just like everything else in this routine and perfectly ordinary picture, I'd figured everything out that I needed to within 5 minutes. KGHarris, 03/07."
Great movie, especially for gamers
Pugmom | Pittsburgh, PA USA | 01/25/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I seem to be in the minority, but I thought this movie was awesome. Maybe it's because I play a lot of computer games and I thought the premise of a killer video game was really clever (maybe not unique, but well done.)
The plot revolves around a mysterious video game being tested by a couple of game testers. No one seems to know its origin, but it soon becomes apparent that when you play the game and your character dies, you soon meet the same fate in real life. The game is based on the real-life serial killer Elizabeth Bathory, a 16th century Hungarian countess who killed and tortured hundreds of girls. The movie takes some liberty with the facts, such as having The Countess, as she's called, move to America, where she finds the requisite spooky old manor to inhabit. The gamers finally figure out what's going on and find the real-life burial place of the Countess. One part I found cool was that while one character played the game on his laptop, he instructed the other one what to do in the actual castle. I found the blending of game and "reality" very well-done and intriguing. I won't spoil the ending, but the heroes eventually find the body of the actual Countess, and guess what- she's not dead! (surprise) There is a pretty cool final scene where they battle this vicious vixen, who I thought was one of the coolest movie monsters I've seen in a while.
Also included on this DVD is a commentary track, which I found very entertaining. A mixture of teen slasher film, video come to life, and techno-thriller."
N. Durham | Philadelphia, PA | 11/06/2007
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Ah yes, more kids to the slaughter. Stay Alive follows the same formula of The Ring and many other Americanized versions of great Japanese horror films, and like The Ring and the countless other Americanized remakes, Stay Alive fails miserably. The film concerns a group of gamers (Jon "brother of Ben" Foster, Samaire Armstrong, Sophia Bush, Malcolm in the Middle's Frankie Muniz, and more) drawn to a horror video game that finds when one of them dies in the game, they die the same way in real life. Yeah, Stay Alive is nothing you haven't seen before or seen better, and the idiotic screenplay is so overloaded with plot holes and leaps of logic that you'll be astonished just how stupid these people are. Then again, you're not watching Stay Alive for these reasons, you're watching it for scares, and in that department alone, once again the film fails miserably. Not to mention that even though this is claimed to be the "director's cut" of the PG-13 rated film, Stay Alive still feels as if the filmmaker's are holding back. Also featuring Adam Goldberg, The Wire's Wendell Pierce, and Heroes' Milo Ventimiglia, Stay Alive is a waste of time, effort, and film; and needless to say, you could do much, much better than this."