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Movie Review

Stay Alive

MPAA Rating: PG-13-Rating (MPAA) for horror violence, disturbing images, language, brief sexual and drug content

Reviewed by: Bob Rossiter

Very Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Suspense, Horror, Thriller, Teen
1 hr. 25 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
March 24, 2006 (wide)
Copyright, Touchstone Pictures/Buena Vista Pictures Copyright, Touchstone Pictures/Buena Vista Pictures Copyright, Touchstone Pictures/Buena Vista Pictures Copyright, Touchstone Pictures/Buena Vista Pictures Copyright, Touchstone Pictures/Buena Vista Pictures Copyright, Touchstone Pictures/Buena Vista Pictures Copyright, Touchstone Pictures/Buena Vista Pictures Copyright, Touchstone Pictures/Buena Vista Pictures Copyright, Touchstone Pictures/Buena Vista Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Touchstone Pictures/Buena Vista Pictures
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Featuring: Jon Foster, Samaire Armstrong, Frankie Muniz, Sophia Bush, Adam Goldberg
Director: William Brent Bell
Producer: Adam Del Deo, Jonathan Glickman, Douglas Hansen
Distributor: Touchstone Pictures/Buena Vista Pictures

“If you die in the game, you die for real.”

So, how do you honor a friend who is a gamer after his death? Play the last game he played unless that game is “Stay Alive”. After the grisly murder of Rex, Sara and Loomis, Hutch gets this game and invites his friends to join him to honor the dead.

Phineus, October, Abigail and Swink meet Hutch at his house to play while Miller goes online at work to join them virtually. The friends soon learn this is no ordinary game when they must audibly recite a sance style prayer in order to begin the game. At the end of that night’s session all the friends have survived in the game except Miller. The next day Hutch finds Miller was killed, and after a little investigation realizes he and Loomis died in real life the same way they did in the game.

The five survivors paused the game, but it had the ability to restart and continue its actions solo. The first time this happens, Phineus is run over by a horse-drawn carriage and killed. The remaining friends now realize they need to do their homework and find out more about the game.

These friends find that the story behind the game was based on the real-life story of a woman known as the blood countess. She would lure children to her plantation then torture and kill them. They also realize that the prayer they spoke at the beginning of the game brought her spirit back from the dead to torture and kill those in the real world. The only way to escape the horror of the game world is to find her literal body, drive three nails into it and burn her blood. All of this turns out to be easier said than done.

I’m not sure how “Stay Alive” received the PG-13 rating. I thought there was enough blood and violence to gain a light to moderate R, but evidently the MPAA didn’t think so. Each death was violent and most had blood flowing from the bodies or pools of it around them. One scene had blood all over the walls.

At one point there is implied sex between Rex and Sara when Loomis breaks into their room. Rex is seen shirtless on his knees over Sara’s bare shoulders, but nothing else. Other sexual references include a few sex jokes and talk. Miller one time asks Hutch if he’s ever had PDA sex.

There are also about 50 obscenities spoken. F* is used once and there are about 20 times that God’s name is misused in one way or another.

Horror movies are so unrealistic to me. The Bible says that one of two things is going to happen. The righteous will be resurrected to eternal life and the wicked to eternal punishment. The idea that an evil person can come back to the land of the living to torture and kill people is bogus.

The style and theme of “Stay Alive” could only be appreciated by those who like the horror genre, but there were a couple good things about the film. Both Abigail and Swink offer to distract the blood countess while their friends go on the offensive against her in other ways. There were also some good backgrounds in the camera shots, and several scenes of great acting. I wish these things would have been used in a movie with a more positive theme.

Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Mild

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive—I saw the unrated version, and I really liked it. It was cool to see how they integrated the video game into the movie. There are some jump scenes, and some scary and violent parts. The acting was good, and the special effects were incredible. If you like scary movies, like “The Ring,” you will like this. Looking at it from a Christian view, I would say that anyone who doesn’t mind strong language and loads of gore will like it. …
My Ratings: Offensive / 4
Nathan Howe, age 18
Neutral—I am a gamer, so I thought I would enjoy the movie. I would love to play the game! I thought it was an okay movie and wasn’t offended by anything I saw or heard. I knew it would be a horror movie when I chose to watch it. I must say, however, that the f-word was NOT said! Hutch started by saying this is faa and the other guy (Malcom in the Middle) finished by saying “ing” bazaar or crazy (what ever the next word was). I know this because my spouse and I talked about it for 15 minutes, and I had to rewind 4 times to prove my point!
My Ratings: Average / 3
Jeri, age 35
Neutral—Not terrible… for a B-grade horror flick. Nothing I’d watch a second time, however. It was extremely graphic and violent, especially in the first scene, when a man is hung from his own balcony. Despite being graphic, it’s not really that scary, which is the point of a horror movie, isn’t it?
My Ratings: Offensive / 2½
Dana Thurmond, age 21
Negative—This movie is AWFUL! I have no idea how the reviewer and a few of the commentors could think that the acting is anything other than abysmal. The actors didn’t work well together, and it was so cheesy, cookie-cutter, and predictable. The actors couldn’t act their way out of a paper bag! Also, the stereotypical characters were a slap in face to anyone with an average knowledge of story writing. Also, the “cool, young, hip, video game” lingo was super lame.

The graphics were awful, AWFUL, for a movie of this generation and with this technology available. A movie about a *video game* mind you (video games have some of the best graphics in entertainment right now) could not produce graphics better than the old Chinese Godzilla movies—that is sad people. To conclude let me say that, as a huge gamer, I was looking forward to this movie. I was hoping for some inside jokes about the gaming world, and such. I ended up feeling that it was a waste of time, money, and that I *should have rented a video game* instead of going to see this movie, as the game probably would have had better acting, graphics, and a better story to boot.
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 2
Joseff Amador, age 24
Comments from young people
Positive—I really enjoyed this movie. Although I will say that it wasn’t as much scary as it was suspencful I really liked the plotline and the acting was great to. Jon Foster was great as was Frankie Munez (sorry if I spelt his last name wrong) and the rest of the actors.

I liked the fact that from the very beginning it was scary, but I didn’t like the fact that as soon as like the movie was near it middle, not even in it’s middle you already knew what was going on. The only thing you didn’t know is how it was all going to happen and how it would turn out. I think that the images that you see (the “disturbing” ones) were very good and more creepy than too scary. It kind of reminds you mostly of “The Ring.” So, I rate this movie a five and advise anyone to see it. It was great, and the way some parts make you jump is pretty cool.
My Ratings: Average / 5
Lacey, age 14
Neutral—I saw the movie twice, once with my best friend and then another time with my other friend and which we took her little sister to see it, she kinda got scared but the toward the end she was okay. I thought it was a good movie. The first time it was scary but the second time, it wasn’t all that bad.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 2
LeAnna Culbertson, age 15
Neutral—It was pretty good. It had a very good plot and some good actors, too. Terrible movie though as far as cussing. …
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 4
Matt, age 11