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I saw "Stay Alive" tonight, and I was surprised to come home and read
reviews discounting it as stupid or pointless.
Actually, I think that the plot was fairly substantial and well thought out for a horror movie--especially a PG-13 one. Granted, it probably would have been better as an R version, but there's always a chance for an unrated DVD. This movie made me think AND scared me, which is a combination hard to find. The time line is fairly stable and simple to follow--except parts of the end--which makes for an enjoyable experience. Without worrying about when things are happening, you are free to instead concentrate on WHY they are happening.
I really liked the video game plot--it was entertaining enough just to watch the gamers get so into it! Everything is interconnected, so it kept me interested enough to look past the "jumpy" parts to the underlying meanings and symbolism.
The characters were fairly dynamic and complex, and the acting was much better than I expected. I actually FELT for them, an element often missing from horror films. The procession of events may have been slightly predictable at times, but the characters remained real and believable throughout. I was happy to see that everything wasn't discarded simply in the name of gore.
The lighting was surprisingly good for this genre--every scene was well-lit and easy to make out what was happening. The colors were perfect to set the mood, and the cinematography was on the better side of average: no complaints here.
Overall, although the ending was a bit of a let-down, I believe this is worth seeing if you like horror movies that also make you THINK--it's not all about scares. I'm also a novice gamer, so I might have appreciated it more than a non-gamer--I don't know.
In conclusion--it's worth a shot.
For what it is, this movie rocks! I know it's silly and predictable and even just plain-out awful, but it is ENTERTAINING, and yeah, I had fun laughing at it. Also, Some of it was creepy, but in a very formulaic way. Very fun. You should see it if you want a silly horror movie that doesn't completely suck. The countess was weird-looking, and that was somewhat purposeful because she's a VIDEO-GAME CHARACTER. Malcolm in the Middle was in it -- too bad, I thought that kid was actually good. The house itself is pretty creepy, and the game, if it does or will exist, would be very fun to play. C'Mon! You can't hate it for being bad, it even makes fun of itself! It is really a good hour and a half of...something. Something okay in my book.
STAY ALIVE Rated PG-13 for horror violence, disturbing images,
language, brief sexual and drug content. Directed By: William Brent
Bell Starring: Jon Foster, Frankie Muniz, Samaire Armstrong, and Sophia
Bush Runtime: 85 minutes
TO MAKE A LONG STORY SHORT
7 out of 10. Not very scary, but it is enjoyable.
THE LONG VERSION
OK. I was not expecting much from this flik from the get-go. Script although more original than most of the crap movies to come out lately, was still nothing ground breaking. And, having a relatively unknown director on the project wasn't giving this film any better buzz. Then the trailer was released, which made this movie look even worse. So today I see a matinée for this film with a friend of mine, and I'm surprised to find myself watching a genuinely interesting film.
Is it scary? Not really. There's a few boo scares thrown around, but none of them really work. I like during some of the creepy scenes how silent it was, but it never really paid off properly.
Is it at least suspenseful? Yes. It is, in fact, very suspenseful. There are some really cool chase scenes, and some pretty decent "what was that!?" moments.
Is it gory? No. The pictures were, as most suspected, quick shots in the film, and you barely saw any of it. This was, of course, to keep this flik pg13. That's annoying, but whatever, I could get over it rather quickly.
Editing, Directing, etc. was all pretty solid, nothing shocking, but nothing horrible either.
And now, to the part most people are probably interested in: How was the video game sequences? Awesome. This is by far the best part of the movie. When it goes into the video game, it gets really cool. The beginning shines best in this particular style the movie goes for. With some creepy "Samara" like ghosts crawling around, and plenty of stabbing, the video game sequences are the scariest and goriest parts of the flik. These are the scenes that truly shine.
So what else can I say? It's an enjoyable flik that floats in mediocrity until the video game sequences. Thats when it shines. Which makes this a 7 rather than a 6 out of 10.
All in all: Not very scary, but suspenseful. A pretty solid film that can entertain you, but there will definitely be haters. I say lean back and enjoy a decent rental (when it's released on DVD that is) It will be worth the 6-8 bucks you pay for it.
Stay Alive is a new game in which you have to stay alive or suffer the
consequences in real life, it's a pretty cool concept and one that
could have been executed way better than it actually was.
Surprisingly the film is far less cheesy than i figured it would be, the cast are quite convincing, albeit as pretty shallow characters and the direction, editing and general production are adequate enough. What let it down was the way it sets out the rules and then picks which ones it will follow depending on what stage the story was at, contriving every step of the way to make it fit.
It was mildly entertaining to watch and there is a decent sense of tension throughout, although the scares were all a bit cheap and clichéd, and it definitely didn't need the twist at the end, i hope it's not a setup for a sequel.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
One of the most fun movies I have had the pleasure of watching this
year! But then again, i am a regular movie junkie. The plot line was
very gripping and intense. The story behind the countess was just
downright spooky and the graphics were amazing! I loved the fact that
the game looked so much like all those other horror games out there,
like clock tower 3 or sirens.
The only reason I am giving this movie a 7 and not a higher ranking is that there were a bunch of unanswered questions, like 'who exactly made the game and for what reason?' and the most annoying unanswered question 'why did the characters die even before they died in the game?' Otherwise it is very VERY entertaining! I'll think twice before playing a horror genre game!!! ^_^
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A group of teenagers discover a bootleg video game, but once they start
playing it, they each start dying just like they do in the video game.
As they become addicted to the game, they need to find a way to beat
the game's central villain, The Blood Countess, before she kills them
The premise does sound a little stupid and familiar but this film could have still been mildly entertaining. However, this "horror" movie is not scary at all. It's actually more of a comedy than anything else. The film takes itself way too seriously and the movie is not a lot of fun to watch. Sure, there is the occasional laugh but for the most part, the film is very dull. PG-13 horror films can still be good like The Ring or Cry Wolf. The Ring and Stay Alive aren't really the same type of horror film though. Stay Alive is more of a slasher movie and since its rated PG-13, the death scenes are very tame. It should have been the movie's main sell and since it had an interesting concept the deaths could have been really good. Unfortunately, the studio wanted a bigger audience and the film had to be altered.
The acting is a complete joke and most of the cast give awful performances. Jon Foster is not a very good leading man. He lacks charisma to really engage the audience or for the audience to care about him. His character isn't unlikable just very bland. Samaire Armstrong actually gives an okay performance though a little too bland to truly stick out. Frankie Muniz probably gives the best performance in Stay Alive. That's an honor on the level of being the best player on the Houston Texans. Sophia Bush is absolutely terrible as October. Her performance feels so rushed and so fake. The most annoying character in the movie is Phineas played by Jimmi Simpson. His character is so unlikable you will be rooting for him to die.
In fact, most of the characters are pretty unlikable so that makes it even harder to become interested in the film. It's just hard to feel sorry for some of these annoying kids and it's a lot more fun to watch if you want the characters to actually survive. The only real good thing about the movie is the atmosphere. It's a little old but it still kind of works. The film is also really short so it's not too much of a pain to sit through. I wouldn't really blame the cast though because they were working with an inexperience director and writer. The direction is not very good and the screenplay isn't much better. Stay Alive is actually not the worst horror film of 2006. That honor would go to When a Stranger Calls. Stay Alive is still a missed opportunity though. In the end, this cheesy and lame horror film is better left on the shelf. Rating 4/10.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
OK, I actually just saw the movie today and I gotta say: it's not too
bad. Yeah, it's not that scary and while the script in and of itself is
mildly (very mildly) original, the dialogue and the reactions of the
gamers remains hopelessly cliché. That is the world of horror,
unfortunately. So, why do I like this movie? Because I didn't go to get
scared (obviously, the movie is PG-13), I didn't go to critique it,
though I guess that's what I'm doing now. I went to get a good hour and
a half of entertainment. And, boy, was I entertained.
Let's start with the premise of the movie. A group of attractive 20-something gamers find this new, underground video game called "Stay Alive" where the objective is the title. Despite the fact that the main character's friend died shortly after playing it, the gamers decide to give it a go. They find the effects creepy and fulfilling, but the fun ends there when one of their group, the main character's boss, dies in exactly the same way as his avatar in the game. It just escalates from there. Now, I'm a big fan of games with an interesting plot, so if this were a game, I would totally play it.
A lot of people were complaining about the CG effects. I liked them. It was supposed to look like a video game. I realize the normal route was to have these characters look real when they step off the computer screen, but I thought it looked so much cooler when it seemed like the game itself was killing you. Some of it seemed far too reminiscent of Japanese horror, but considering that's the trend these days, I let it go. Overall, I loved the fact that the demon children and the crazy Countess looked exactly like the game until the very end.
The characters themselves were fun. You had the goth chick, but what I liked about her was that she wasn't the stereotypical "I'm creepy and dark and depressed" chick that always seems to grace these movies. Then there was her brother, whom I was alternating between laughing at and wanting to hit. The main character, Hutch, I believe, was cute enough that I didn't really care whether or not he was cool. Swink, played by Frankie Muniz, was utterly adorable. The only one that I didn't get was the blonde, Abigail. Why the hell was she there? To create suspense, to be another love interest for Hutch? I really wanted her to be evil. That would have made so much sense in the long run. I mean, she shows up at Loomis' funeral and suddenly becomes buddies with Hutch and then later his new girlfriend after the goth chick dies. That entire relationship I could have done without. I would have absolutely LOVED it if she turned out to be some psycho obsessed with the game or something. But, whatever. She was decent, too.
The only part of the movie that I didn't like, which always drives me nuts, is the fact that they never mention why and how the game was created. The company, apparently, was the plantation itself, but who made it? The Countess? That doesn't make sense to me. I get the idea of mixing an old ghost story with today's technology. I find that fascinating. But how does a Civil War-era ghost come up with the idea of making a video game to further her evil purpose and then manage to go through with it? Also, how did she manage to distribute it after she was supposedly destroyed? If there is one thing that can tie a movie together for me, it's a good backstory.
Other than that, I found the movie enjoyable and I would definitely watch it again when it comes on TV. If you're looking for hardcore horror, look elsewhere. But if you want some fun with a great ghost story, then definitely watch this. If anything, you can have fun with rooting for who dies next.
After seeing the movie, I was freaked out to even go down to my basement in fear that I may see "The Bloody Countess". I was truly freaked out by this movie. The whole storyline of the video game tied in very well. Made it almost believable. The next day I checked the movie out online to find that this was based on the REAL bloody countess, Elizabeth Bathory. I found it quite interesting the life this woman led. That people (NOBLE PEOPLE) can get away with things like this. The depths she would go to, to stay youthful and the harm she put on to so many girls. I would recommend this to anyone to enjoys a heart stopper and to encourage them to check out the real story behind this woman. Quite graphic and gross to be truthful but interesting at the same time.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I haven't laughed so much in a theater in years. The only problem is
that it was not the intent of the movie to make my throat raw from
This movie is absolutely overflowing with bad CGI, absolutely terrible duologue, absolutely terrible *acting*, and enough geek references to make the whole thing come off as nothing but complete cheese.
As a gamer and a geek-type girl myself, I did recognize all of the obvious game references in this movie as well as the geek STUFF that was just thrown into the background as eye candy (the Steamboy poster, the t-shirts from thinkgeek.com and j-list.com), and that didn't redeem the movie at all.
The only thing that might have been good at ALL were the ghost children type characters that were purposefully badly done in CGI to make it look like they were from a game, and who were OBVIOUSLY stolen from Japanese horror movies.
To be honest, it was hilariously bad, and something I'd expect from a midnight showing of a made-for-TV b grade Sci-Fi channel movie. Don't expect more than that and you'll have a great time. Just don't get a soda or you'll spit it everywhere when you get great lines like: "Why did you bring that game into our lives?! WHY?!"
As a major horror game fan i loved the fact that this film included references to my favourites "fatal frame" (project zero over here in blighty!) and silent hill... so what if there's a couple of holes in the story? that just makes it even closer to a horror game! how many of you who have actually played silent hill or fatal frame can honestly say it made perfect sense? It just added to my enjoyment of the film, and pointing out similarities in the film from the games made me feel like a big fat nerd :0) but a happily entertained nerd! I liked that it wasn't a slash-em up gross out like the majority of horror films are now, and that the story was based on an actual legend (the story of Elizabeth Bathory, not the characters in the film). Overall, impressed, would recommend it, but not to wusses who get nightmares easily :0D
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