Hey what it is that I hear about those video games, they seem to be really popular nowadays. And people who play them are now cool and have enough money to buy a ticket or a DVD? Well, sign me the fuck up says Disney and decides to make its first commercial slasher. The concept is simple and yet effective, you have these teens who play this video game and if they die in the game, they die in real life. I mean, how come no one thought of this before is beyond me? Technically a horror movie, Stay Alive is counting more on jump scares and intense atmosphere than on graphic violence.
It is, after all, a PG-13 movie, so don’t be expecting rivers of blood or anything like that. I think they were going for that Silent Hill vibe but without any of the nastiness. In that sense, it reminded me of the ill-fated Feardotcom, a turn-of-the-century slasher slashed by critics and audiences alike. After all of this, you might be wondering if Stay Alive is a movie worth watching. I think it is, mostly because it’s oddly entertaining, fast-paced, and at times suspenseful. The visuals are excellent, something that is to be expected from a movie with a budget of over $20 million.
This is perhaps one of those lesser-known movies with such a big budget. I wonder why it didn’t become more popular especially since it combines such potent elements. And the storytelling isn’t too bad either. However, I’ll have to admit that some of the scenes are unintentionally hilarious.
For example, one of our main characters walks into an Internet café in the middle of the day only to find his girlfriend lounging on the bar without any apparent reason. We, the audience, know what the reason is and that’s to showcase her beautiful legs and have a “dynamic scene”.
Stay Alive is an obscure video game Loomis Crowley decides to play one night. Little did he know that this is going to be the last night he’s alive. Loomis ends up dead, just like he did in the game he played just a couple of hours ago. And not just him, it would seem that anyone who plays this game ends up dead. This is where our young gang of gamers comes in, trying to solve the puzzle and figure out how is this happening.
As you can see, Stay Alive basically takes the premise from all those Final Destination movies and fuses it with the “video game movie” gimmick. The end result isn’t half-bad keeping its cards close to the chest practically ”til the last few minutes. The cast did a good job and it features some familiar faces. It was cool to see how Frankie Muniz is doing after Malcolm in the Middle and Wendell Pierce playing the detective role again.
I wonder how Stay Alive is going to feel like in ten years’ time. Is it going to be delightfully retro or unbearably annoying? I guess we’ll have to wait and see. Finally, there’s a director’s cut version of this movie available now with 15 minutes of additional footage. It was removed to get the coveted PG-13 rating so I suggest you check it out. And if you want to know more about the background of the story, I suggest you watch this mystery movie.
Director: William Brent Bell
Writers: William Brent Bell, Matthew Peterman
Cast: Jon Foster, Milo Ventimiglia, Samaire Armstrong, Frankie Muniz, Jimmi Simpson, Wendell Pierce
Fun Facts: Ben Foster and Steve Zahn were among the original members of the cast.
IMDb Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0441796/