Stay Alive

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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner26/07/2006

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 85 mins

Derivative and disappointing horror flick, but it has the occasional decent moment thanks to its likeable cast.

What's it all about?
When a video game tester (Milo Ventimiglia) dies in mysterious circumstances, his game-playing friend Hutch (Jon Foster) recruits fellow gamers Abigail (Samaire Armstrong), Swink (Frankie Muniz), October (Sophia Bush) and Phineus (Jimmi Simpson) to investigate Stay Alive, the underground horror survival game he was playing when he died.

The game involves a spooky plantation and a bloodthirsty countess (Maria Kalinina) and it isn't long before the gamers start dying the same deaths as their onscreen counterparts. They display a certain amount of common sense by switching off at this point, but then the game starts playing by itself.

The Good
The film-makers obviously have a gaming background and a lot of effort has gone into both the visual effects and the game-like structure of the script as the protagonists advance towards the final level.

The cast are extremely good – Frankie Muniz makes the most of his geeky sidekick role whilst Jimmi Simpson continues to impress, despite being saddled with the most unlikeable character. Jon Foster makes a solid lead, rising star Sophia Bush does more than just provide eye candy, and Samaire Armstrong keeps her mugging tendencies to an acceptable minimum.

The Bad
Unfortunately, the trick of deliberately using CGI game-like effects backfires a little because they end up looking quite cheap on the big screen. Similarly, the plot doesn't make a huge amount of sense and there's no trace of wit or imagination in the various deaths.

In addition, the film bottles out of killing off all its cast members, so you feel a bit cheated by the end. It's also, crucially, not very scary, relying on a blaring soundtrack and jump-cuts in the absence of any actual shocks.

Worth seeing?
In short, this is something of a disappointment and nowhere near as scary as The Ring, which it rips off shamelessly.

Film Trailer

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Content updated: 06/12/2019 08:28

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