Reviewed by: Bob Rossiter
|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
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