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Overall Rating
2

Awesome: 6.38%
Worth A Look: 6.38%
Average: 2.13%
Pretty Bad51.06%
Total Crap: 34.04%

4 reviews, 23 user ratings



Stay Alive
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by Todd LaPlace

"So bad it’s not very good."
2 stars

I’m not sure there is a more overused phrase in the movie lexicon than “It’s so bad it’s good.” I understand the idea and I don’t necessarily disagree with the notion, but it needs to be reserved for a certain level of awful (like “Death Race 2000.” Seriously. Go see it). The filmmakers behind “Stay Alive,” a horror movie based on a video game come to life, have fallen into that paradoxical zone where their movie is simultaneously too good and too bad to be enjoyable. There are some interesting ideas in “Stay Alive,” which makes it better than the average “so bad it’s good” movie, but since it never quite capitalizes in on those ideas, it just skips good and goes right back to bad again.

“Sweet Sebastian Bach, I wanna play!” says obnoxious faux-hipster Finn (Jimmi Simpson) about prototype video game “Stay Alive.” The game, which also lends its name to the film at large, is one of those generic first-person shooters that leads players into the large, dark Victorian home of the Blood Countess and her legion of undead girls, but with the clear graphics and free-roaming game play, it looks like a better version of the early “Resident Evil” games. If we can go into the theater and test the game for two hours, I’m with Finn. Sweet Steve Perry, don’t tease us any longer.

But sweet Scary Spice, can we pass on the movie? The cookie-cutter PG-13-horror canon is already overflowing with enough movies that squander an interesting premise on bad dialogue and cliché scares. Elizabeth Bathory, the real Hungarian countess that served as the video game inspiration, was rumored to be a cruel, sadistic woman that tortured her young servant girls, often to their death. She would beat them, stick them with pins and spikes, rip portions of their flesh away with her teeth and freeze them to death in the snow covered fields surrounding her castle. But while her 16th Century atrocities were extremely vicious, she could serve as an interesting villain, especially when terrorizing stupid teenage gamers.

Sweet Susanna Hoffs, though, director/co-writer William Brent Bell is having none of those interesting elements ruin his hackneyed horror. The cast, which is primarily composed of pretty TV teens, just haphazardly bump into each other in their pursuit of genuine scares. In the opening segment, Loomis (Milo Ventimiglia of “Gilmore Girls”), the gamer originally changed with beta-testing “Stay Alive,” loses the game after being hung by the Countess, and retreats to his kitchen for a glass of milk. Based on a few haunted dreams and a random shadow in his kitchen, he tears up his stairs as if his life depended on it. Now, I’ve never been pursued by an evil ghost, but I have the sneaking feeling neither has Loomis, making his overreaction just that. There is no rhyme or reason for many of the characters action, other to shrug it off as poor scripting. With the exception of Finn’s line (which is very addictive, in case you couldn’t tell) and a few throw away lines from nerdy gamer Swink (Frankie Muniz of “Malcolm in the Middle”), everything is clearly awkward horror movie dialogue, a combination of obvious utilitarian statements (like “It’s locked. I need a crowbar”) and overly analytical assumptions about supernatural forces from the one sci-fi Goth teen of the group, who in this case is Finn’s sister October (Sophia Bush of “One Tree Hill”).

Perhaps the most nonsensical part, however, is the misplaced romance between the two bland leads, Abigail (Samaire Armstrong of “The O.C.”) and Hutch (Jon Foster of “Life as We Know It,” the Kelly Osbourne snoozer sitcom). In the midst of watching their friends die and fleeing from a homicidal specter, the pair stop and start making out. Isn’t that typically the notice that they’re next on the hit list? Sweet Savage Garden, that means we wouldn’t be subjected to any more of this sludge. Unfortunately, “Stay Alive” is left wide open for a sequel, meaning we might get hit with sequel sludge, which, in the case of “Stay Alive,” may be a sign of the coming apocalypse. Sweet Scott Stapp! Pray for us all!

Do you have any more ideas of musicians and bands that might fill the “Sweet __________ __________” blanks? Because honestly, this game is much more fun than that “Stay Alive” one.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=14182&reviewer=401
originally posted: 04/03/06 07:35:31
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User Comments

8/08/10 PAUL SHORTT LIFELESS AND DULL 1 stars
6/03/10 User Name "Stay Awake" would be a more appropriate title. 1 stars
6/03/08 mike stopped watching after 15 minutes. looked terrible 1 stars
3/22/08 Pamela White movie to nowhere 1 stars
11/20/07 B Short To say that this movie sucked would be an insult to those movies that suck 2 stars
11/17/07 David Pollastrini Pretty dull 1 stars
10/24/07 Pedro Altar this movie is nice 5 stars
1/11/07 Tracey Chambers great idea that went nowhere. 2 stars
11/07/06 Indrid Cold Boy does Frankie Muniz's future look bright ... not! 2 stars
9/25/06 Becca terrible!! it was creepy, but the story line just sucked 1 stars
9/22/06 --- I actually left the theatre and got a refund. 1 stars
9/01/06 Mr Bayg The director needs to sew his asshole shut to stop shit like this being produced. 1 stars
7/31/06 Liz Wot was it! i was laughing most the time! i wud say watch it for comedy value! 2 stars
6/11/06 Chris I wasn't scare once, and I'm that idiot who screams in movies like this, boring, very dumb 2 stars
6/05/06 mary I liked it. 5 stars
6/02/06 Robyn Jamil-Walid Marcia, do you mean EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE? If so, good point. 4 stars
6/01/06 Marcia Zarwetten-Grassi Less substance but most enjoyable horror since SKELETON KEY or REINCARNATION OF EMILY ROSE. 4 stars
4/07/06 Daymon it was ok but the concept of it becoming a real 1st PS horrorsurvival game is pretty cool 5 stars
4/03/06 drunken master Good concept, but like many other videogame-based movies, this one failed miserably! 2 stars
3/27/06 Blutarsky Ok, are studio plants giving it good marks? No other explanation. 1 stars
3/27/06 Hayley Alright 3 stars
3/26/06 Ricardo Jimenez I enjoyed the movie 4 stars
3/25/06 lemonhead wow this movie is complete garbage, how did this make it into theaters 1 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  24-Mar-2006 (PG-13)
  DVD: 19-Sep-2006

UK
  N/A

Australia
  10-Aug-2006




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