Thursday, 01 October 2020
Stay Alive
Written by Sandra Fitzpatrick   
Tuesday, 28 March 2006 17:57

Stay Alive will make you die laughing

Here’s a twist that’ll really shake ‘em up: Put out the movie before we make the video game. Actually the video game scenes are by far the coolest part of the teen horror flick Stay Alive.

Honing in on fans of game titles like Resident Evil and Silent Hill, (myself included), this movie attempts to feed off the frazzled brains and burnt eyeballs of gamers and scare the pants off us. I say “attempts” because it actually fails miserably in the frights department. This movie falls into the category of “So Bad It’s Almost Good”.

The movie centers around a gang of online gamers who get their hands on an underground prototype video game. Their friend died on the night he played the game, so the gang is already freaked out. When they start playing they realize that as players die in the game they start dying in real life. It’s up to the survivors to piece together what is going on and find a way to stop it.

The stock characters have names out of fashion magazines such as Phineus, Swink, Hutch and October. They all fit neatly into categories like hero, geek, jerk, goth chick. In real life these people would never be friends, but here they serve a higher purpose – to get knocked off one by one in various gruesome ways.

Which leads us to “the scare”. Unlike movies such as The Ring or The Grudge this movie wastes no time on building up atmosphere or tension. Oh no! Instead it goes for cheap thrills by having things jump out of nowhere. This is always accompanied by a screaming noise that’s a cross between a yowling cat and nails on a chalkboard. Anything that might have been scary has been toned down enough to give the film a 14A rating.

The characters learn through the powers of Google that the evil force behind the slayings is the ghost of Elizabeth Bathory. To defeat her they have to find her and burn her earthly body. You may have heard of the real “Blood Countess”, a 16th Century noblewoman who bathed in the blood of virgins to prolong her youthful beauty. The real Bathory is said to have killed over 600 victims, mostly women, through various methods of torture and mutilation. But for all their research, the web savvy gamers miss one important fact. The real Elizabeth Bathory lived in Hungary, NOT a New Orleans plantation house! This is a serious glitch in the film. Talk about a dumb oversight.

So why would I say that this movie is almost good? Because it is so much fun to make fun of! Quite honestly, Frankie Munitz wearing a sun visor and spouting techno-jargon IS my idea of a good time. How can I resist poking fun at the terrible acting, the cheesy story, and bad CG effects. So, have I learned my lesson about video game movies? Not really. I am still anxiously looking forward to Silent Hill (May 16)!

All kidding aside I can’t, in good conscience, give Stay Alive more than 3 stars out of 10. But thanks for the laughs.