Movie Review: Stay Alive (2006)

Synopsis: When Hutch's friend is brutally murdered, he discovers a new video game, Stay Alive, among his friend's possessions. He and some of his friends decide to play the game. However, what they don't realize is, in order to play, they must read an ancient spell that releases the spirit of infamous Countess Elizabeth Bathory and, if they die in the game, they will die in real life.

Who's in it? The movie stars Jon Foster, Samaire Armstrong, Sophia Bush, Frankie Muniz and Wendell Pierce.

Review: My wife  is a big Chicago P. D. fan and, since I was at the library yesterday anyway, I decided to find a movie with one of her favorite actresses, Sophia Bush. I had forgotten we had watched this particular movie before, many years ago, but we ultimately didn't regret watching it again.

Overall, the movie is a lot like many other films with a similar plot. It involves a group of friends who don't realize they are playing a cursed game, even though they are required to read the curse before they are allowed to play, and it takes one or two deaths to find the connection. However, I did find there were some things the movie did right.

One thing, in particular, I thought was a nice touch was the way the game would force them to play. It wasn't as simple as turning the game off because Elizabeth Bathory (Maria Kalinina) would still hunt them down regardless. In fact, at one point in the movie, one of the friends needs to play the game as a way of distracting her and help navigate his friends through her plantation.

I am also going to admit, the movie wasn't as predictable as I remembered. A couple of the deaths were surprises and there were just enough twists in the movie to make it a little unclear who would survive and how they would defeat the countess. There was even a surprise survivor at the end (though the movie doesn't really explain how that person did survive).

One thing I wasn't a fan of were the police. They seemed awfully determined to pin the murders on Hutch (Foster) even though some of the deaths were more than a little bizarre, such as one of the friends being run over by a horse-drawn carriage and another victim having his head ripped in half.  Truthfully, the supernatural angle didn't seem nearly as farfetched as their theory. Not to mention, it does leave a fairly large unresolved issue at the end of the film since Hutch and his friends were still wanted for murder and still wouldn't have a way of proving their innocence.

Final Opinion: The movie has a couple flaws but was better than I remembered it being the first time we watched it. It's worth taking the time to watch if you haven't seen it before.

My Grade: B


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