December 11, 2010
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Director: William Brent Bell
Writer: William Brent Bell
Producer: Gary Barber/Roger Birnbaum/Jonathan Glickman/McG
Starring: Frankie Muniz/Jon Foster/Adam Goldberg/Sophia Bush/Milo Ventimiglia
BBFC Certification: 15
Duration: 100 minutes
All gamers have most probably imagined, dreamed or wondered about what would happen if video games would somehow blend with real life. Much like a gamer’s version of A Nightmare on Elm Street crossed with The Ring and as the tagline suggests ‘if you die in the game, you die for real’. A gang of hardcore gamers mourn the loss of one of their friends. He was playing a computer game before he died and the gang get their hands on it and decide they play it together to remember their friend, only they find out that the game isn’t the kind of games they play. Stay Alive is quite bad; it has bad acting, a terrible script, quite a lazy name, a story with unused potential and one of the worst excuses for special effects…and yet I liked it. There’s some kind of charm to Stay Alive that makes you like it, especially if you are a gamer. It’s one of those movies that you have to like it for what it is and not hate it because of what it’s not. Sure it’s another low-budget horror movie that doesn’t really make the cut of being a memorable horror movie but the idea behind it is something simple yet brilliant. Unfortunately, the idea wasn’t executed very well and it failed to be at least good. Don’t get this review wrong, it was an enjoyable movie but it wasn’t good. One of the main things about the movie that I could not forgive was the very stereotypical characters. We had characters from goth gamers to sarcastic characters who never takes anything seriously to characters who looks like he fell head first into his own wardrobe (yes, I’m talking about Frankie Muniz). Along with those stereotypical characters must come the stereotypical dialogue as each person says something that can either make you groan or sigh and shake your head a little.
Stay Alive has quite a bit of bad acting from most of the characters but a couple of actors from the cast had given out average performances. It was nice to see Frankie Muniz of Malcolm in the Middle fame play the geekiest gamer of the gang and he does so quite well but, just like Michael Cera, he more or less plays himself. The script and writing is terrible but the idea of the story is good, it’s just a shame that it was executed poorly and quite sloppily as this had the potential to be something decent. Another thing that Stay Alive had a problem with was it’s pacing, some scenes were too fast and were over with a blink of an eye and some scenes were too slow, leaving you hoping that something good would happen fast. The CGI and special effects were also quite terrible and something that actually didn’t help the movie in any way. Overall, Stay Alive isn’t a good movie but that doesn’t mean to say it’s stupidly fun and quite funny for all the wrong reasons. This is definitely a guilty pleasure for gamers.
The title itself is something you couldn’t take very seriously so you know what you’re in for when you watch a movie like Stay Alive. Even though there’s stereotypical gamer characters and the script and story is quite tedious and boring sometimes, Stay Alive is a fun and quite enjoyable watch that’s not to be taken seriously at all. Sure it could have been miles better and if the movie’s idea was placed into the right hands with a good solid cast, this could have been more than decent. It’s not overly fantastic but Stay Alive does have one thing for gamers and that’s likeability since the idea may be quite appealing to them. I would recommend this to gamers but be warned, don’t expect the movie to be like a horror version of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World otherwise you will be very disappointed.