Stay Alive Review
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Plot:After the brutal death of a friend, a group of friends find themselves in possession of a video-game called 'Stay-Alive', a blood-curdling true story of a 17th century noblewoman known as 'The Blood Countess'. However, after playing the game when they know they shouldn't, the friends realize that once they die in the game - they die for real. As their numbers begin dropping and as they begin dying in the ways they died in the game, the remaining friends realize they must defeat the Blood Countess or accept their fates.
My Thoughts:What it lacks in style when it comes to the kills, it makes up for with an original story.
Review:Movies like "Stay Alive" usually have me leaving the theater going "what the hell was that?". But oddly enough, that's not the way I felt about "Stay Alive" after seeing it. While the movie did have it's problems from the standpoint of being a balls to the wall horror movie, it works really well as a dark mystery with horror elements sprinkled in. The jist of "Stay Alive" centers around a weird video game that someone created and found a way to send out into the world. The bad part of the game is, if you die in it, you die for real, and weirdest of all, you die in real life the way you died in the game. I admit this movie would've been hella lame if the game started frying people or killing them in freak accidents ala "Final Destination", but writer William Brent Bell is smart enough to give us a villain or should I say villainess that we can identify with, in the legendary countess Elizibeth Bathory. For those of you not familiar with this historical ghoulstess, she killed countless young women back in the dark ages and bathed in their blood, believing that doing so would grant her eternal youth. The dark aspect of the movie makes it's presence felt early on because when victims number 1,2, and 3 are claimed, it's by the countess character that appears in the game as it's boss villainess, if you will. The mystery and burden of one of the first victims death falls upon his avid gamer friends Hutch (Jon Foster), Abigail (Samaire Armstrong), Phineus Bantum (Jimmi Simpson), his sister October (Sophia Bush), Miller (Adam Goldberg), and Swink (Frankie Muniz). Bell manages to keep the mystery of the film fresh, dark, and intriguing as the gamers soon start playing the game in honor of their deceased buddy, and begin to unlock it's dark secrets. One of the biggest ones being about countess Bathory, and just how the heck can she be back as a video game character? Although this all sounds pretty cheesy in some ways, watching it all play out on screen with these particular actors is quite entertaining and creepy in alot of ways. Alot is revealed about the countess such as how she killed her victims, and when the first of the gamers dies at the hands of the games countess, Sophia Bush's character begins to draw conclusions connecting the eerie circumstances surrounding his death, to that of past incident involving a few murdered local girls. "Stay Alive" slinks on blood, guts, and other related nastiness, and instead relies on it's strong solid mystery aspect. It is after all a pg-13 flick, and while some horror fans might be turned off to the fact that the film is shy with it's graphicness, the mystery of what is occuring is so engaging, it acts as a distraction from the fact we aren't seeing people chopped to pieces on screen. "Stay Alive" also manages to keep Ms. Bathory well hidden most of the way, not fully showing the countess until near the middle of the movie...where one female character in peril utters a pretty bad ass one liner before she's offed, in what is about the only graphic or semi-graphic death scene in the whole movie. The countess character is pretty creepy looking, and makes for a fantastic villain, especially because she sports a pair of rusty hedgeclipper like weapons in one hand when she pops up on screen...and has a very demented twisted look to her. Bell does show a weakness in his writing though when his story nears the end, which is where the remaining gamers after discovering a way to destroy the blood countess, visit the house of their dead friend to do so. Many things take place in the final act that don't make sense and work to create more questions while giving little to no answers. That doesn't do much for the story since there were already many unanswered questions from act 1 and 2 that had yet to be answered - and for those who didn't pick up on it early on in the movie or who just weren't paying attention, the films ending manages to square away one of "Stay Alive"'s biggest mysteries for you all. Despite it's story-flawed final act, "Stay Alive" manages to "Stay Alive" (no pun intended) with an interesting and intriguing story and a pretty creepy looking and viciously wicked villainess, which manages to ensure that the viewer will be able to "Stay Awake".
Pros: A very Dark,sinister, intriguing, and interesting story. Pretty good acting, great villainess, and nice sceneries especially in the movies climax which shifts locations from a large house, to a cemetary, to a forest.
The ending was also a total curveball.
Cons:Again the story is too open ended and alot of questions about the countess are left unanswered at the conclusion. Another graphic death or two would've helped as well, too many cut aways.
Overall:I liked it alot more than I though I would, and I think you might too. It's not a splatterfest, but in terms of it's strong story, it's a movie that will leave you thinking after it's all over, and is mostly for the horror fan that can appreciate a good mystery with strong horror elements included.
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