Stay Alive

"Bad"

Stay Alive Review


It's a horror plot so surefire that you wonder why it hasn't been done before: Young people play a mysterious new videogame and start to die, one by one, in grisly scenes mimicking their game deaths. Stay Alive runs through this plot with such a plodding lack of imagination that you think again: Maybe this has been done before, on The X-Files or a direct-to-video picture you missed. Surely a movie this tired can't be the first crack at a fundamentally decent genre idea?

Stay Alive gets around this conundrum easily by knocking off The Ring and throwing in a little of the Final Destination series: the former's ghostly gimmick mixed with the latter's view of life as an elaborate series of macabre booby traps. Unfortunately, even the cut-and-paste is botched; no Ring-style tension builds, and the PG-13 rating curtails the death scenes, most of which all but cut away before the character's gory fate is sealed. Yes, you read that right: Stay Alive is like a Final Destination movie without the death scenes.

It would help - it usually would - if any of the characters sparked even minimal interest. Here we have the conflicted, haunted hero (Jon Foster) and the mysterious new love object (Samaire Armstrong), flanked by some more subculture-specific stereotypes: the callous, hardcore gamer/stoner (Jimmi Simpson), his goth sister (Sophia Bush), and a nerdy tech-head (Frankie Muniz). Yes, you read that right: Stay Alive's biggest star is Frankie Muniz. The rest of the characters keep telling him to shut up, which seems perfectly natural at first, until you realize he's the only one who displays even a modicum evidence of thought about videogames and the world around him.

But the movie is less interested in the gaming culture than in making the backstory of its villain as generically spooky as possible. The idea of a horror movie set within a particular youth subculture is actually pretty neat, and hopefully won't die along with Stay Alive's characters, momentum, and thrills. I eagerly await the emo-scene version, where My Chemical Romance groupies are haunted and picked off by a harpie killed in a freakish Hot Topic accident.

Besides its squandering of an ultra-high concept, Stay Alive is not really much worse than any other teen-targeted horror movie that refuses to be screened for critics. It makes minimal sense, displays minimal style, and provides minimal entertainment until it finally ends and provides a maxi-sized opening for a sequel. Yes, you read that right: At this time next year, I could be reviewing Stay Aliver.

Where's Travolta when you need him?



Stay Alive

Facts and Figures

Run time: 85 mins

In Theaters: Friday 24th March 2006

Box Office USA: $23.0M

Box Office Worldwide: $27.1M

Budget: $9M

Distributed by: Buena Vista

Production compaines: Hollywood Pictures, Spyglass Entertainment, Endgame Entertainment, Wonderland Sound and Vision

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 1.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 9%
Fresh: 5 Rotten: 53

IMDB: 5.0 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: William Brent Bell

Producer: , , , Matthew Peterman, James D. Stern

Starring: as Hutch, as Abigail, as Swink, as Phineus, as Detective Thibodeaux, as Loomis Crowley, as October, as Miller Banks, Billy Slaughter as Rex, Nicole Oppermann as Sarah, April Wood as Loretta, as Detective King, Billy Louviere as Fidget, Monica Monica as Mrs. Crowley, Maria Kalinina as Countess, Rick Green as Stay Alive Game Voice-Over, J. Richey Nash as Young Rookie, Lauren Lorbeck as Emma, Veronica Mosgrove as News Reporter, as Jonathan Malkus

Also starring: , ,

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

On the Road Movie Review

On the Road Movie Review

Wolf Alice fans are likely to be rather disappointed by this hybrid documentary-drama about the...

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Skilfully made by Swedish filmmaker Janus Metz (the award-winning Armadillo), this film is essentially a...

Advertisement
The Glass Castle Movie Review

The Glass Castle Movie Review

There are quite a few terrific moments in this true story, based on the memoir...

Home Again Movie Review

Home Again Movie Review

Reese Witherspoon is so likeable that she can carry even the most hackneyed of romantic...

Brimstone Movie Review

Brimstone Movie Review

An unnerving Western with a sharp female perspective, this film is a series of gruesome...

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Two years ago, Kingsman: The Secret Service seemed to come out of nowhere, ruffling feathers...

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

This biopic about Winnie the Pooh author A.A. Milne may look like the usual lushly...

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.