STAY ALIVEMOVIE REVIEW
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A SIERRA NEVADA
(MICHAEL MADSEN & JOHN SAVAGE).
You know I hate to see it. So many movies start off with such promise only to lose it somewhere and never recover: Or worse, get worse!
In my opinion, STAY ALIVE only exists as a parasite to the upcoming SILENT HILL. Granted it was written several years ago, but nobody gave a damn until SILENT HILL was in production. Only where SILENT HILL is a movie based on a very popular video game, STAY ALIVE is a movie based on a video game that doesn't exist. Meet the new paradigm.
The movie starts out decent enough with an obvious video game opening. Some guy is on a computer, playing a game, and his avatar meets a creepy and untimely end. The CGI, which is supposed to look like a computer game, is quite well done. But the death creeps out the player and he has to get up and walk around for a bit. He barges in on his roommates who, having PG-13 sex, yell at him to get out. He mentions something to the effect that he saw them die in the game too. Then he calls his pal, Hutch MacNeil (John Foster: TERMINATOR 3: RISE OF THE MACHINES) and tells him how scary the game is.
Eerie Merry Mishaps occur.
The next thing Hutch knows, his buddy Loomis Crowley (Milo Ventimiglia: CURSED) and the roommates are all dead. While he's attending the funeral, a strange girl walks up and takes a photo of him. Her name is Abigail (Samair Armstrong: DARK WOLF) and her connection to the grieving family is tenuous at best. Then another non-descript girl, the sister of the dead guy, gives Hutch his last belongings, which include a copy of the game he was playing prior to his death.
Soon Hutch and his group, some of which are friends and some of which are acquaintances, are playing the game. One guy, Miller Banks (Adam Goldberg: THE PROPHECY, THE SALTON SEA, FRANKENSTEIN ) dies in the game. Soon after, he dies for real in the very same way he died in the game. In this game, you really DO have to Stay Alive! Needless to say, this sets Hutch on edge. Morale doesn't improve when the cops come sniffing around and make note of the fact that Hutch made a phone call to the latest victim just like he made a phone call to his recently buried pal.
I can't fault the special effects, which actually make great use of CGI in that it is actually supposed to look like CGI (Courtesy of Duane Floch and the Pixel Liberation Front: THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN, SKY CAPTAIN, FLIGHT PLAN).
It's worse than theatrical quality in fact, because its supposed to be a computer game. But this works well in the spooky factor when these video demons start invading reality. The game actually looks like fun. While the movie goes into loads of detail concerning the game being based on the actual historical person of Countess Erzebet Bathory (with real Hollywood history!), its way too vague on why Lizzie showed up now and chose, of all things, a video game to return to life through: Other than the fact that the latest Horror movie spirits had already cornered the market on video tape (THE RING), the Internet (FEAR DOT COM), and broadcast transmissions (WHITE NOISE). Look for hellish demons to possess your iPod next*.
STAY ALIVE is, unfortunately, filled with a typical Teen Movie cast straight out of the film, Not Another Teen Movie. You would have thought they knew they were being so trite. First time Screenwriter Matthew Peterman and co-writer/Director William Brent Bell (BUCKET OF BLOOD), aimed low and missed their target anyway. The scene that throws the entire movie into the garbage, from which the audience booed and never recovered, was of one of the characters, after surviving a car accident, getting on his cell phone while standing in the middle of a road.
He talks, and talks, and talks, and this scene takes way too long, while he continues to chew up his anytime minutes, yapping on the damn cell phone, just dicking around, while Standing In The Middle of A Freaking ROAD! To absolutely nobody's surprise, a vehicle with a driver that had to see him from a mile away, finally comes and puts the son of a bitch out of his misery. This scene was unbelievably long and would have benefited greatly if the guy just staggered out of his car, into the road, while still believably disoriented, and got smacked. Oh well.
After that, the film cannot recover as the remaining characters of Swink Sylvania (Frankie Muniz) and October Bantum (Sophia Bush) join Hutch and Abigail to try and figure out how the hell old Erzebet Bathory is pulling all of this off.
STAY ALIVE is certainly not as bad as a Uwe Boll movie, but that's not saying a whole lot, is it?
Two Shriek Girls.
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