Friday, June 10, 2011

150 Days of Halloween: Stay Alive

Well this was a complete departure from the rest of the list. So far the schedule has been fairly decent movies, sure Let Me In was a pointless remake that missed the mark, but it wasn't awful. Likewise, Inside was an intense ride, but lacked originality and failed to really take full advantage of its premise. Stay Alive is the game changer, the first laughably bad movie we have seen, but certainly not the last. Seeing as how this is a terrible but funny movie, I'll be a mite bit more informal with my review and just rant at will. Mostly about the story and the way they portray games. Oh, I won't proofread it either!
"If you die watching this, no refunds!"
The idea behind the movie is that a video game has popped up in the lives of the characters following the mysterious deaths of some friends. These people are what Holywood see as gamers, so they of course grab the game from the backpack of their dead friend and start to play, which is a healthy mourning response apparently. The hook for the movie is that players that die in the game, die the same way in real life. Kind of a poor mans The Ring that gets confused often.

This movie has nothing going for it, not a thing. Acting is laughably bad all around, with Frankie Muniz of Malcolm in the Middle fame managing the best performance followed by the creepy dude from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. The effects are all terrible, be it the 3D nightmare that is the game world, or the cherry flavored blood people get covered in from time to time. Tying it all together is a script that loses track of whats happening and contradicts itself randomly, and editing that goes out of the way to make inserts look as obviously misplaced as it can. Seriously, the editor must have been of the opinion that no one can speak without the audience seeing their mouths. They will jump cut to a dude for a simple one liner response to a conversation, then jump back and continue talking.
"Yes, I am indeed the best part of this movie."
The movie jumps between the game, the real world, the ghost story of the real world, and in the last act it adds romance just for kicks. Its a clusterfuck, which makes it fairly hilarious to watch if you openly mock it the whole time. I won't waste much more time with the story, but I do want to touch on the many ways it doesn't make any damn sense. First off it mangles the real story of Countess Elizabeth Báthory, who is possibly the most prolific serial killer of all time and certainly the most prolific female serial killer. For this movie she somehow resides in America on a plantation, and was also a witch now, while sprinkling actual tidbits of the story around, such as the fascination with blood and her habit of taking baths in the stuff. How she became a witch is a good question on its own for me, but the bigger question is how did a dead woman from the late 1500's design a multi-platform video game? Don't wait for an answer, they never address that bit. The writer must have been listening to someone tell him the story of Báthory right up until the violent car accident robbed him of his brain.

If you happen to enjoy video games, then I encourage you to play a game if you watch this movie. Keep track of how many different controllers people use to play the game. Also keep track of how many systems and computers they play it on with those various controllers. Its like video games are some magical device that work everywhere and with anything to these people, someone plops the game into a PC and picks up an Xbox controller. "That's fine," I think to myself, "I do that too, nothing wrong with that." Then, hearing my thoughts and wishing to profane them, the camera pans to the next player as he picks up what I swear looked like a Dreamcast controller, and another person with what must have been an N64 controller. This is bad enough, but then we also have them playing with someone online who is in another building. Oh sure, plenty of games have multiplayer I hear you say. Well they only had the one disc of that game, which all seven people play on different computers and home consoles. I want to live in this magical land where one CD works on everything, with any controller, and all of my friends can play it online with me without the need of a lobby or a server!
Aw look, they are just as confused about the plot and mechanics as the rest of us.
If you ever find yourself contemplating watching this disaster, do it with friends. For extra fun, do it with a drink in your hand or a bong hit in your heart. So long as you are laughing at this movie, it can't hurt you, and it really is a better comedy then it is a horror movie. Also enjoy Frankie Muniz, who plays six different nerd stereotypes rolled into one speed addicted package, every time he walked on screen I knew my suffering at the hands of this movie would slightly diminish.

Alright! Tomorrow is Last House on the Left, the original version of course. I have also made a few list edits, the major one being the dropping of Child's Play since I have seen it roughly nine hundred times, and the addition of Hobo With a Shotgun. While not pure horror, this grindhouse tribute is something I really want to see, so that's Sunday.
Go on, drink it all in. Glorious, I know.

For the full list with links to reviews, check out The 150 Days of Halloween.


  1. every game should be played asif you die when your character does.

  2. that first film actually sounds kinda good :O i wanna see it :P

  3. cant believe frankie muniz is only 25 wtf

  4. He was the best part of the movie? God help us all.