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"STAY ALIVE"
(2006) (Jon Foster, Samaire Armstrong) (PG-13)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Heavy Heavy Heavy *Heavy Heavy
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild Heavy Extreme None Heavy
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Heavy Minor Moderate Moderate Extreme


QUICK TAKE:
Horror: A group of friends tries to survive a deadly spirit that's been reanimated once they begin playing a videogame based on her life where if they die in the game, they perish in real life.
PLOT:
After a video game player ends up meeting the same demise as his onscreen counterpart, the victim's friend, Hutch (JON FOSTER), inherits the yet-to-be-released, multi-player game called "Stay Alive," unaware of its connection with the shocking death. Set in the Gerouge Plantation of New Orleans and its adjacent cemetery, the game involves trying to make one's way through the setting, all while avoiding the murderous spirit of Elizabeth Bathory or those of the many children she killed during her reign of terror.

Having met Abigail (SAMAIRE ARMSTRONG), the friend of another victim, Hutch returns home with her. The two of them, along with siblings Phineus (JIMMI SIMPSON) & October (SOPHIA BUSH), geek Swink (FRANKIE MUNIZ) and Hutch's boss Miller (ADAM GOLDBERG) who's logged in from his office, then set out to play the game.

Having to repeat a passage from Elizabeth's diary to begin, the players are unaware what they've really set into motion. Soon, one player and then another dies the same way their onscreen counterpart did, scaring the survivors and drawing the attention of Detective Thibodeaux (WENDELL PIERCE) who becomes suspicious of the seemingly related deaths. As the game then starts playing on its own and thus determining the players' fates, they race to figure out the history behind the game and stop the malevolent spirit before the rest of them also become victims.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're into horror film and/or video games, they just might.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
For horror violence, disturbing images, language, brief sexual and drug content.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • JON FOSTER plays a videogame player who inherits a pre-release version of a game, unaware of its history or ability to kill its players in the same fashion as their onscreen counterparts. Once he realizes that, he sets out to figure out what's going on and avoid becoming the next victim. He also harbors a troubled and fiery past regarding his mother's death at the hands of his father, and uses some profanity.
  • SAMAIRE ARMSTRONG plays a young woman he recently met who similarly lost a friend due to the game. She then sets out to help him and the others.
  • JIMMI SIMPSON plays Hutch's friend who's obsessed with playing games, including this new one. He uses some profanity.
  • SOPHIA BUSH plays his sister, also a gamer who faces the same predicament. She smokes and briefly uses strong profanity.
  • FRANKIE MUNIZ plays their geeky friend who's the first to tie the deaths to the game, but doesn't believe in the malevolent spirit connection until he experiences it firsthand.
  • ADAM GOLDBERG plays Hutch's game-obsessed boss who smokes a few times and uses some profanity.
  • WENDELL PIERCE plays the local detective who becomes suspicious of the gamers and the recent spate of deaths connected to them.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this horror film that's been rated PG-13. Profanity consists of at least 1 "f" word, while other expletives and colorful phrases are also uttered. A couple is briefly and partially seen having sex (no explicit nudity or movement, although the man behind the woman is wearing a pig's head mask).

    Violence consists of several people being murdered by various means by ghostly spirits (while their virtual world counterparts and other characters are killed in the videogame). Some of that has bloody results (and there are other briefly seen bloody visuals), while those scenes, others visuals (related to the ghosts, etc.), various moments of peril and all of the "haunted house" type material might be suspenseful or downright scary to viewers. Various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes, while there's content about familial deaths. One character is noted as having just used drugs, while a few characters smoke.

    If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those concerned with bright flashes of light on the screen, there are occasional flashes of lightning in the movie.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, there's occasional camera movement when the film portrays the video game world as well as in the regular movie.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • The others find Phineus slumped over and seemingly unconscious or dead in his chair, but he then says that he just took a hit from a bong.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • We see a quick close-up image of a bloody eye (still in the head).
  • In footage from the game, various animated child demons are shot and killed (with shotguns, machine guns and a crossbow), sometimes with bloody results (all computer animated).
  • A man's videogame character is stabbed in the neck with something and killed (with bloody results).
  • We see a flash image of a dead man with blood on his clothes (we also see the same on his video game counterpart).
  • We see Hutch shirtless and he has some burn scars on his back.
  • Swink imagines seeing blood on his face and hands.
  • We see still photos of dead people, some of whom are bloody.
  • A man is run over a horse-drawn carriage that kills him (with bloody results).
  • We see blood on a dead body and in a pool on the road around it.
  • Hutch has a victim's blood on his hand.
  • We see a bloody face by Abigail (in a flash in the dark).
  • A drop of blood falls down from a strung-up person to a spirit's hand, with the spirit then tasting that blood.
  • Nails work their way out of a spirit's body, leaving a small bloody hole in her forehead after the last one is out.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • There's talk of the former woman (now a ghost) who previously abducted and gutted kids in her torture chamber, and it's her spirit that's killing the videogame players (although she's never personified beyond being a spirit).
  • Abigail takes pictures of various people, including Hutch, at a funeral.
  • Phineus comments about Swink's game controller glove -- "God, that thing is gay." Later, and by himself, Swink agrees that it is.
  • Phineus is insensitive about others' deaths and simply wants to keep playing the game.
  • A cop has a bad attitude toward Swink.
  • Hutch and Abigail do a little breaking and entering at his deceased friend's house.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence," "Blood/Gore" and "Jump Scenes" may be unsettling, suspenseful or scary to younger viewers and/or those with low tolerance levels for such material. Others might not have as much of a reaction or any at all.
  • The sight of the various dead-looking spirits and ghostly images might be unsettling or scary to some viewers.
  • The film's setting in New Orleans (and scenes set in a cemetery) might be upsetting for those affected by Hurricane Katrina.
  • During footage from the video game, we see a character in a painting suddenly move. We then see various creepy characters approaching, including children who move in a herky-jerky fashion and one even crawls along the wall toward the main character who then runs. The animated character is then blasted out through a second story railing and ends up getting hanged by a cable in the foyer.
  • Having just played a video game where his character has been killed (by hanging), a guy hears noises in his place (thumping during a thunderstorm) and then slowly goes around looking for its source. We see a sudden, flash image from the game, then another in a mirror reflection, while we hear a weird rumble and see a transparent spirit watching him. He then sees a shadow approaching him and bursts into a room to find a couple there dead (we see a flash image of bloodiness), with the shadowy figure then grabbing him from behind and pushing him through a second-story railing, resulting in him being hung on a cable in the foyer.
  • Hutch has a flash memory of an earlier fire at his childhood home.
  • Hutch hears sounds in his place and when he goes to look through the peephole, Swink suddenly pops up into his field of view.
  • A man's videogame character is stabbed in the neck with something and killed (with bloody results). After that, he prepares to leave (he's alone at work at night), but his office door won't stay closed (even after he locks it). He thus goes back repeatedly and we see a flash image of a figure in the hallway. When he enters his office, he hears something rattling and slowly goes down below his desk to find and then retrieve a game controller. He then comes back up from there and we then see a flash image of something attacking him.
  • The others find Phineus slumped over and seemingly unconscious or dead in his chair, but he then says that he just took a hit from a bong.
  • October sees a ghostly image.
  • Hutch's eyes suddenly go milky and the glass in the mirror in which he's looking suddenly breaks.
  • We see a ghostly image of a girl walk by.
  • As a guy drives along, a fog suddenly settles in and then he must swerve to avoid hitting a ghostly girl in the middle of the street. He then hears horses approaching, but can't see them. That is, until he turns and is run over a horse-drawn carriage that kills him (with bloody results).
  • A cop suddenly sees a ghostly image in his rear view mirror. We then see an exterior shot of his truck (from a distance) where he's grabbed and the truck rocks from the deadly violence (not seen) occurring within it.
  • Cops ready their handguns as they prepare to enter an apartment, but October and Swink have snuck out a back window and escape.
  • A woman sees a ghostly image in a window of a house that's under construction. Wanting revenge for an earlier death, she goes inside and equips herself with a hammer and three nails (that they learned is how to kill the spirit), all unaware that the video game is now playing by itself and determining her fate. She then fires a nail gun at the ghostly figure, but the nails just land in a bare stud. She then tries to run away but her leg gets caught in some sort of trap that then yanks her back across the floor and then hoists her up into the air, upside down. She then sees an upside down view of the ghostly figure and cusses at it just before it slits her throat (briefly seen, but with a flash of bloody results).
  • Hutch and Abigail slowly go into an antebellum mansion to look for a solution to their problem, all as Swink plays the game from out in their vehicle to keep the spirits at bay. Inside the house, we hear more of the strange vibrating sounds heard earlier in the film. Abigail then slowly goes up the stairs by herself (and finds a secret room that she enters) as Hutch investigates a nearby cemetery (all during the day). The room in which Abigail is in suddenly goes dark and we hear her scream, all as Hutch races back to try to save her, guided by Swink's instructions using the video game as his guide. We then see bugs on Abigail's face and then a bloody face by hers (both suddenly and in the dark). A ghostly figure then comes at Abigail with large scissors or shears, but Swink uses a video game device to save her (from a distance, with the ghostly figure dissolving).
  • We see a flash image of a baby doll with what look like maggots or other worms crawling on it.
  • Swink finds himself locked out of the van and sees the game playing by itself, determining his fate. He breaks a window to get inside, but it's too late, and thus he runs down the road and then through the woods all while hearing the approach of a horse-drawn carriage that's after him. We then see large scissors or sheers coming at him, and then see his video game counterpart dead on the screen.
  • The horse-drawn carriage seeks out Hutch and Abigail in a cemetery with the two then taking cover in a tower located there. They then proceed down into a subterranean area, with a lantern to light their way. As ghostly child figures approach them (crawling on the walls or moving with creepy, herky-jerky movements), they use dropped roses to cause those spirits to turn to mist.
  • The two then get separated, with Abigail having to stay behind a locked door as Hutch ascends the steps to look for Elizabeth's body. He finds it (looking like she's asleep) and then cautiously drives three nails down into her body, including into her forehead, all as Abigail is strung up down below, with a ghostly figure prepared to slit her throat (but his last nail causes that spirit to dissolve away). Thinking he's done, Hutch turns his back and we see Elizabeth sit upright on the bed, with the nails slowly making their way out of her body. Hutch then turns and uses a shiny laptop computer to reflect the spirit's image back at her, causing her to scream and her face to elongate out of proportion. Hutch then uses a lantern to start a fire that quickly spreads over to the spirit and catches her body on fire (along with the room). Swink then bursts in and saves him (as well as Abigail).
  • During a fire he set, we see brief images of Hutch as a boy looking frightened in a childhood fire from his past.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Knives/Scissors or shears: Used by the spirits to kill some people. See "Violence" for details.
  • In footage from the game, various animated child demons are shot and killed (with shotguns, machine guns and a crossbow), sometimes with bloody results (all computer animated).
  • Cops ready their handguns as they prepare to enter an apartment, but October and Swink have snuck out a back window and escape.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Go f*ck yourself," "Sickest sh*t since..." "Stupid sh*t," "No sh*t," "Tearing sh*t up," "You start seeing sh*t," "Sweet sh*t," "You can't game for sh*t," "I don't give a sh*t," "Sounds like bullsh*t," "Holy sh*t," "Ah sh*t," "I hate to be a d*ck, but..." "D*ck-heads," "Dude," "Shut the door, perv," "Do I look like an asshole?" "You're an idiot," "Crap like that," "You scared the crap out of me," "God, that thing is gay," "Can we skip this cinematic foreplay?" (about a videogame introduction that's nonsexual), "I want to butter this muffin," "I'm starting to get a little creeped out," "Shut the hell up," "Hell yeah," "Dead bitches," "Dame," "Kiss my ass," "Freaked out," "Bite it," "You're freaking everybody out," "Chick," "Where the hell is..?" "Nuts" (crazy), "G*ddamn sweet," "We're in the bitch's backyard," "Hell yeah," "C'mon, you bitch" and "Bitch, that's cheating."
  • Phineus licks a game controller before handing it to Swink.
  • We see Hutch shirtless and he has various tattoos on his back.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • During footage from the video game (seen as a first-person POV), an image is suddenly in a mirror reflection.
  • We see a sudden, flash image from the game, then another in a mirror reflection.
  • Hutch hears sounds in his place and when he goes to look through the peephole, Swink suddenly pops up into his field of view.
  • We see a flash image of a figure in the hallway.
  • A sudden sound might startle some viewers.
  • Phineus is nearly hit by a truck while standing by his vehicle.
  • We see a brief image of a cop inside the video game as he's being tortured (something's on his head).
  • A cop suddenly sees a ghostly image in his rear view mirror.
  • There's a flash image and accompanying sudden sound.
  • The sudden sound of a phone call might startle some viewers.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • An extreme amount of suspenseful and ominous music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 1 "f" word, 17 "s" words, 2 slang terms using male genitals ("d*ck" and "d*ck-head"), 6 hells, 2 asses (1 used with "hole"), 2 craps, 2 damns, 9 uses of "G-damn," 4 of "Oh my God," 3 of "Jesus," 2 of "God" and 1 use each of "Jesus Christ," "My God" and "Oh Jesus Christ."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • A guy walks in on a couple having sex on a bed. We don't see any movement or actual contact, but the guy (wearing a pig mask that he then removes) is behind the girl (we see her bare back) and she tells the first guy, "Shut the door, perv."
  • Miller asks Hutch, "Are you hip to this PDA sex thing? Hutch replies that he's not into that yet.
  • About a vibration from the game, one of the players asks if they felt it and one guy says, "Hell yeah. In my pants."
  • We briefly see Hutch shirtless.
  • A poster shows an animated character sporting some cleavage.
  • SMOKING
  • Miller and October each smoke at least twice.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • We see family members at a funeral, including the teenage sister of the deceased (but the scene is short and never touched upon again).
  • We hear that Hutch's parents are dead, but later learn that his father thought the boy's mother was cheating on him and thus set the house on fire, killing her and resulting in him being imprisoned. We then see a flashback to young Hutch looking scared in the fire.
  • A woman must deal with her brother's death and states that he's all she had.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Ghosts and such.
  • How video games can affect one's view of reality (The notion of perceptive reality).
  • VIOLENCE
  • During footage from the video game, an animated character is blasted out through a second story railing and ends up getting hanged by a cable in the foyer.
  • Following the above (and finding a couple that's been killed -- we don't see the deaths), a man is grabbed from behind and then pushed through a second-story railing, resulting in him being hung on a cable in the foyer.
  • In footage from the game, various animated child demons are shot and killed (with shotguns, machine guns and a crossbow), sometimes with bloody results (all computer animated).
  • A man's videogame character is stabbed in the neck with something and killed (with bloody results). After that, we then see a flash image of something attacking the real man (he's later seen dead).
  • A man is run over a horse-drawn carriage that kills him (with bloody results).
  • A cop suddenly sees a ghostly image in his rear view mirror. We then see an exterior shot of his truck (from a distance) where he's grabbed and the truck rocks from the deadly violence (not seen) occurring within it.
  • A woman sees a ghostly image in a window of a house that's under construction. Wanting revenge for an earlier death, she goes inside and equips herself with a hammer and three nails (that they learned is how to kill the spirit), all unaware that the video game is now playing by itself and determining her fate. She then fires a nail gun at the ghostly figure, but the nails just land in a bare stud. She then tries to run away but her leg gets caught in some sort of trap that then yanks her back across the floor and then hoists her up into the air, upside down. She then sees an upside down view of the ghostly figure and cusses at it just before it slits her throat (briefly seen, but with a flash of bloody results).
  • Hutch finds Elizabeth's body (looking like she's asleep) and then cautiously drives three nails down into her body, including into her forehead, all as Abigail is strung up down below, with a ghostly figure prepared to slit her throat (but his last nail causes that spirit to dissolve away). Thinking he's done, Hutch turns his back and we see Elizabeth sit upright on the bed, with the nails slowly making their way out of her body. Hutch then turns and uses a shiny laptop computer to reflect the spirit's image back at her, causing her to scream and her face to elongate out of proportion. Hutch then uses a lantern to start a fire that quickly spreads over to the spirit and catches her body on fire (along with the room).



  • Reviewed March 24, 2006 / Posted March 25, 2006

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