Stay Alive (2006) starring Jon Foster, Samaire Armstrong, Frankie Muniz, Jimmi Simpson, Wendell Pierce, Sophia Bush, Adam Goldberg directed by William Brent Bell Movie Review

Stay Alive (2006)   2/52/52/52/52/5

Jon Foster and Sophia Bush in Stay Alive (2006)

Game of Death

The trouble with "Stay Alive" is that it is a horror movie which isn't scary. In the entire movie there was only one scene which made me jump and that was the classic ringing phone punctuating the silence, as for the various deaths and shadowy figures, well none of that is in the least bit scary. And so with so few scares what you have left with is a rather run of the mill wannabe horror which thinks it is clever by having life mirror what happens in a computer game but trust me it isn't.

After Loomis Crowley (Milo Ventimiglia) and his friends are found dead in their home, his friend Hutch (Jon Foster - Murder in Greenwich) is given a bag of his things such as computer games. It is one game "Stay Alive" which he and his friends decide to play but after a night of playing one of them ends up dead, killed in the same way that his character died in the game. Freaked, Hutch and his friend October (Sophia Bush - John Tucker Must Die), Finn (Jimmi Simpson), Abigail (Samaire Armstrong) and Swink (Frankie Muniz) investigate not only that Loomis and his friends died as their characters did in the game but the game is based on a real legend. And to make matters worse the game seems to be playing by itself so none of them are safe as their characters are still active.

Samaire Armstrong as Abigail in Stay Alive (2006)

In fairness "Stay Alive" starts in a reasonable fashion, not necessarily in an original fashion but at least is a bit creepy and promising as we watch the cornily named Loomis Crowley playing the game before dying. Unfortunately after that it goes down hill as once we learn that those who play the game die it becomes a case of when and where. So you end up watching till various characters are picked off in various gruesome, or to be honest not that gruesome style until we have a small group of survivors. The only good thing at this point is one person I thought would die didn't and one I thought would live died, at least that was something.

The trouble for me is not that "Stay Alive" is really quite unoriginal but the fact as horrors go it's not scary. The whole aspect of the game entering real life isn't creepy enough and the various death scenes are really quite tame. As I already mentioned the only fright for me came from the classic sudden noise when a phone unexpectedly rang and the big moments such as a death by horse drawn carriage left me unimpressed.

Of course "Stay Alive" is not helped by the classis horror flaw of stupid characters that do stupid things. From Frankie Muniz trying to be quirky cum geeky as Swink with his upside down hat to the daftness of Abigail played by Samaire Armstrong as she goes upstairs alone in a creepy house. Of course these stupid characters are common to many horror movies but it does mean that the likes of Jon Foster, Sophia Bush, Jimmi Simpson and Adam Goldberg really don't make much impression.

What this all boils down to is that "Stay Alive" is a rather boring horror movies which doesn't do anything different to any other horror movie. But its biggest issue is that it's just not scary enough.