We've all been told playing violent video games can have far reaching consequences, but in this film, a little time with the box can leave you the victim of a bloody fatality that mimics the pixilated imaginations of the game's creator.
When his friend is found hanging from a chain after playing a newly developed video game called Stay Alive, Hutch (Jon Foster) and his pals handle their grief by getting together for a game-fest and playing the infamous title. The nerdy bunch of twenty-somethings is soon engaged in its scenario about a southern mansion dwelling ghost with murderous intentions. Sometime during the wee hours of the morning Miller (Adam Goldberg), Hutch's boss who is playing remotely at his office, sees his game character meet a horrible demise from a knife to his throat.
The next day, Miller is discovered lying on his desk with the same gory wound.
This latest development has some of the game buddies beginning to believe their virtual actions are becoming real. Along with Hutch, the timid Swink (Frankie Muniz), blonde bombshell Abigail (Samaire Armstrong), and goth-dressing October (Sophia Bush) are certain there are forces at work beyond the computer screen. Yet October's brother Phineus (Jimmi Simpson) thinks the whole thing is a fantastic coincidence, and sees no harm in playing the game to the end.
Guess which of them is dead wrong?
Artistically and technically, the film looks like a bottom dollar production saddled with a script featuring frightened characters doing the most ridiculous things--like entering a house in which they know their murder is imminent. As in dozens of other horror flicks, the large cast is slowly eliminated one-at-a-time.
Even more disconcerting is the content in this PG-13 teen-targeted picture. One character smokes continually, and another is seen lighting a cigarette. Language includes frequent moderate profanities, religious terms, and a single use of the sexual expletive. Then there's the violence. Deaths involving draining the blood out of victims are discussed, and bloodied corpses are seen. Hanging, throat slitting, trampling, and nail gun shooting are also visualized. Although no explicit nudity is shown, a female's naked torso is briefly seen after she is hung from her feet and another couple is depicted in a sexual position while in bed.
With a title more aptly describing the luck the performers may need to maintain their careers after this film releases to an unsuspecting public, Stay Alive appears to be unintentionally giving the Scary Movie teen comedy spoof franchise an abundance of new material--if not outright direct competition.