I have to admit a soft spot for films where you can’t imagine how the actors delivered their lines with a straight face, where words that tumble out of their mouths have you gasp with amazement and simultaneously hoot with laughter. Stay Alive is one of those films.
Just to be clear, Stay Alive is totally stupid and not very scary. Nonetheless, it is entertaining fun and very watchable.
It is no surprise then that it was produced by McG, who has also brought us the wonder of Supernatural, as well as The OC, Chuck and directed the filmic delights of Charlie’s Angels and Charlie’s Angles: Full Throttle. The young cast (including Samaire Armstrong from The OC, Frankie Muniz, Malcolm in the Middle & Milo Ventimiglia, Heroes), do a fairly reasonable job. Though it is very odd to find the usually hilarious Adam Goldberg in their midst (as older grown-up person).
The storyline does a good job of trying to be up-to-date, as when you play an unreleased computer game, called Stay Alive, the game and reality become fused. The essence of it is if you die in the game, you die in real life. That’s what it comes down to as a concept. Which, to be fair, is not a bad idea.
The fun comes when the young “gamers” (It makes me feel very old to write that) have to make the connection between their friends’ deaths and what we know is happening. The link being so tenuous, it makes their realization sound the height of ridiculousness.
To add to the over-the-topness the game is based on the life of Elizabeth Bathory (not commonly associated with New Orleans, but never mind), which brings a neat bit of gothic appeal. Once the connection is made though, the lines between reality and the virtual become further blurred and various kinds of bloody mayhem ensue.
Fun, yes. Well made, no. But you can’t have everything.
Additional film information: Stay Alive (2006)