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Bruce Munro

Published July 27th, 2006 | by Bruce Munro

Stay Alive Review

Director: William Brent Bell Rating: 1/5

Hands up anyone who remembers the Channel 4 programme Killer Net? One, two, three of you. Ok, good. For those of you who had better things to do in the late 90’s, it was a four part series by Lynda La Plante about a student who gets starts playing a game on the internet in which you have to kill someone and dispose of the body. Good old-fashioned escapist fun until life starts to mirror what’s happening online… It was a pretty weak show, with the most notable thing about it being that it launched the acting career of ex-Take That star Jason Orange, but the internet was in its infancy at the time and most of us didn’t really know any better.

This is now 2006, however, and we do know better than to watch awful films that try to use technological trends to mask shortcomings in areas such as plot and dialogue. Which is probably why very few of us will bother to go out of the house to watch Stay Alive at the cinema. I think you are old enough to make up your own mind on these things so I will give you a brief run down on the film. Reluctantly, I might add.

It starts with a computer game geek playing Stay Alive, in which you have to try not to get killed by ghosts that haunt an old New Orleans plantation. The geek in question, Loomis, dies by hanging in the game. He stops playing but starts getting freaked out. He goes upstairs and finds his housemate and girlfriend dead. He runs out, crashes over his banister and dies. By hanging. Just like in the game! Life is imitating art!

The game, which is based on the legend of Countess Elizabeth Bathory, a serial killer back in 17 th century Slovakia, is passed to Loomis’ friend Hutch at the funeral, and he gets his mates round to play it. His boss Miller wants in on a piece of the action so he links up with them from his office. You don’t last long in horror films when you’re on your own. Even I know that and I rarely watch horror films. So he is promptly dispatched from this earth after getting stabbed in the neck. Funnily enough, this is how he died in the game.

Miller isn’t the last to pop his clogs, but there are a few characters left standing at the end of the film. This is what brings me to now make an appeal to the director of the film, William Brent Bell. Billy, this was your first film and I’m sure you worked very hard, but frankly you’ve made an incredibly boring film which rigidly follows the conventions of the horror genre and desperately lacks any originality. You’ve now got to take a step back now and think about what you’ve done. Is this the best you can do? If so, there’s still time to change careers. Have you thought about teaching maybe? Stable career and you get nice long holidays. If you’re dead set on continuing the filmmaking though, whatever you do, please, please, please don’t make Stay Alive 2.


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