Movie Reviews

What a tragic flop Stay Alive was
By Felix Cheong, TODAY | Posted: 21 July 2006 1630 hrs

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Samaire Armstrong, Frankie Muniz and Sophia Bush in Hollywood Pictures’ Stay Alive 2006

RATING: *

When the title of a movie is just one syllable shy of a famous disco song, you know that credibility is going to be a problem.

As it turns out, Stay Alive does everything to live up to your preconceived ideas.
For a start, it’s a story that shamelessly rips off eXistenZ (1999), the David Cronenberg flick about the osmosis between the real and reel.

A videogame tester dies a bizarre death identical to that of his virtual character in a creepy first-person shooter called Stay Alive.

His friends don’t think much of the coincidence they obviously haven’t realised that since Ringu (1998), spooks have an inside track into new technology until they start getting into the game themselves.

All clichs break loose when, one by one, they meet their well-timed end, delivered Final Destination-style.

Only three geeks are left standing: Hutch (Jon Foster), Abigail (Samaire Armstrong) and Swink (Frankie Muniz).

They can’t exit the game because, as foretold by the Eagles in their monster hit, Hotel California, “you can check out anytime but you can never leave”.

Unlike the Scream series that at least had tongue planted firmly in cheek and spoofs in check Stay Alive takes itself far too seriously.

There are so many plot holes that even the characters themselves wonder aloud: “You mean, the videogame killed him? You kidding me?”