- Stay Alive
Theatrical release poster
Directed by William Brent Bell Produced by Gary Barber
Written by William Brent Bell
Starring Jon Foster
Music by John Frizzell Cinematography Alejandro Martinez Editing by Mark Stevens Studio Spyglass Entertainment
Wonderland Sound and Vision
Stay Alive Productions
Distributed by Hollywood Pictures Release date(s) March 24, 2006 Running time Theatrical cut
Country United States Language English Budget $9 million Box office $27,105,095
Stay Alive is a 2006 horror film directed by William Brent Bell, who cowrote it with Matthew Peterman. It was produced by McG, co-produced by Hollywood Pictures and released on March 24, 2006 in the US. In the U.S. the film was rated PG-13 for horror violence, disturbing images, language, and brief sexual and drug content. This is the first film in five years released by Hollywood Pictures.
The film opens with a character in a video game entering an eerie mansion. The character flees up a stairway and enters a room. Out of the darkness, a woman in a blood red dress lunges at the character. She knocks him off the staircase banister, and the character is killed when he is hung by a chandelier chain. The player of the game, Loomis Crowley, quits playing and goes about a normal routine before bed. He is later awoken by a nightmare, and is killed in real-life by the woman in the red dress, in a manner similar to the way his game character died.
Loomis’ friend, Hutch, receives a phone call informing him that Loomis is dead. At the funeral, Loomis' sister, Emma, gives Hutch a bag containing some of Loomis' possessions, including a video game. At the funeral, a blonde girl named Abigail introduces herself as a close friend to Loomis's roommate.
After the funeral, Hutch goes to a coffee shop owned and operated by his close friend/girlfriend, October, and her brother, Phineus. Hutch hands October the bag containing Loomis' possessions, and Phineus eventually finds the video game, Stay Alive, which they decide to play as a group that night.
That night October, Phineus, his friend Swink, and Abigail arrive at Hutch's house, with Hutch’s boss, Miller, playing online from his office. To start the game, the players have to recite a passage from a book, "The Prayer of Elizabeth", during the game’s intro. After a few hours of gaming, Miller’s character is stabbed in the throat by the same red-clad woman who had killed Loomis. As he prepares to leave his office, Miller dies the same way as his character.
When Hutch returns to work, he is informed of Miller’s death and questioned by two detectives, Thibodeaux and King. While this is happening, Phineus is playing the game at the coffee shop. Just before his character is killed, he pauses the game. After doing some research, Hutch calls everyone together to reveal he knows how people are dying, when he notices Phineus' absence. They call him and learn he's on his way, but shortly after the call he is run down by a bizarre horse-drawn carriage. Thibodeaux and King arrive on the scene, and King decides to play Stay Alive. In the game, King's character’s head is ripped in half. King is then killed in the same manner.
Hutch and Abby decide to go to Loomis's house, where they find the address of Stay Alive’s developer, Jonathan Malkus. They proceed to go to his mansion, and, assuming no one is home, they go in. There, they meet Jonathan, who tells them about how he based his game off The Blood Countess, Elizabeth Bathory.
Meanwhile, October learns that the only way to kill The Countess is by burning, after first trapping her in her body by driving three nails into her: one in her heart, one in her throat, and another in her head. Swink then announces, after seeing a newscast, that King is dead, and that the group are suspects. They all flee, meeting at Loomis’ house to formulate a plan.
October tries to confront the Countess on her own and finds out you can't kill the ghost of her. The Countess slits October's throat and she dies. Swink, Abigail and Hutch decide to investigate inside Malkus’ mansion. Swink decides to stay behind and play the game as both a distraction for The Countess, and as an aid to the others. Hutch and Abigail go inside the mansion, where they find various clues about The Countess, revealing that Malkus's house is actually the Bathory plantation. The group fights off The Countess several times, but Swink is seemingly killed by her after he is cornered and stabbed with a pair of rose cutters.
After a run-in with The Countess’ black carriage, Hutch and Abigail locate Elizabeth’s altar. Suddenly, the door slams shut leaving Abby alone. Hutch panics and tries to open the door, but she pleads with him to go ahead, as The Countess closes in on her.
When Hutch reaches the tower, he finds the Countess's body. He hammers in the nails, trapping her spirit in her body as she is about to kill Abigail. Now back in her body, the Countess attacks Hutch. He manages to set The Countess on fire, but is trapped in the room as it begins to go up in flames. Then it is revealed that Swink survived due to stumbling into a wild rose bush while being chased by the countess (it is mentioned earlier by October that "the undead are unable to cross the twig of wild rose"). He and Abigail kick the door open and rescue him as Elizabeth’s body burns.
The movie ends in a video game store, showing that Stay Alive is now being officially released across the country. The last words are the incantation that resurrects The Countess.
- Jon Foster as Hutch MacNeil
- Frankie Muniz as Swink Sylvania
- Sophia Bush as October Bantum
- Samaire Armstrong as Abigail
- Jimmi Simpson as Phineus Bantum
- Adam Goldberg as Miller Banks
- Alice Krige as the Author
- Maria Kalinina as Elizabeth Bathory
- Milo Ventimiglia as Loomis Crowley
As of June 29, 2006, the film opened at #3 in the U.S. box office, eclipsing its production budget with 11.7 million dollars that first weekend. It ultimately grossed a total of 23.08 million dollars in the United States. It was considered a box office success due to its production budget of only 9 million dollars. The movie has grossed a total of over 27.1 million dollars worldwide.
In the Los Angeles Times, John Anderson commented that "'Stay Alive' spends a lot of time inside the video game system, and what will terrify the audience very early on is the realization that there's better acting in the video game than on the big screen." One reviewer from The Singapore Bell stated that Stay Alive converted him "to Satanism, as only this film can show that hell truly exists." Meanwhile, Variety concluded: "Seldom is there anything close to real passion or panic on display here from cast members."
The DVD was released in the USA on September 19, 2006. It was made available in an unrated edition (100 minutes) and a PG-13 edition (85 minutes). The 15 minutes of new unrated footage include a new character and subplot. The unrated edition features more adult material.
- ^ a b Stay Alive (2006). Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2010-11-01.
- ^ "Stay Alive Movie Reviews, Ratings, Credits". Metacritic. http://www.metacritic.com/film/titles/stayalive?q=stay%20alive.
- ^ "Film Review: Stay Alive". Los Angeles Times. http://www.calendarlive.com/movies/reviews/cl-et-stayalive27weboct10,0,3317375.story.
- ^ "Film Review". Entertainment Weekly. http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,1178160,00.html.
- ^ Anderson, John (March 24, 2006). "Film Review". Variety. http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117930031.html?categoryid=31&cs=1.
- ^ John Anderson, "'Stay Alive': The videogame gorefest is a rather lethargic exercise in mayhem," Hartford Courant (March 26, 2006).
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