Monday, October 23, 2006

I'd Rather Die: Stay Alive


Horror movies tend to suck.

The plot lines are cliches of cliches, the acting is teletubby-esque, and the effects are either puke-your-pants disgusting or downright laughable.

Having been reared on "Nightmare on Elmstreet" and "Child's Play" movies, I cannot genuinely find modern horror films scary. This mournful state leaves me questioning the horror scene entirely.

So I would like to be able to say that "Stay Alive" has refreshed my take on the genre.

I would like to, but a lie of that magnitude would cause the great god Maquba (He who resides on High eating 7-layer burritos) to rend my flesh using only a dull spork and digest me for a thousand years in one of his seven great stomachs.

Needless to say, this may be one of the worst movies ever made, and Uwe Boll wasn't even in the same country when it was filmed.

This movie starts with a strike against it before the opening credits roll: It's a movie about a videogame.

Do not confuse this idea with the Videogame turned movie. Though "Resident Evil" was a flawed flick, it at least had the opportunity to appease loyal fans. (It never did, but it had the opportunity)

"Stay Alive" is a movie about a videogame. The game is a central plot element, like the VHS tape in "The Ring" or the chainsaw in "Texas Chainsaw Massacre." The idea of this is so stupid that it can't be original.

Indeed, it is not.

This movie draws from other crappy sci-fi films like "Arcade" and Japanese shorts that never should have seen the light of day. Though not based on another, better Asian film (like every other horror movie made in the last three years), "Stay Alive" does fall just as flat.

For starters, let's look at the characters.

Wait, sorry, can't find any.

OK, let's try looking at the charicatures. There we go. Every person in this movie plays a version of the modern gamer in the worst form of stereotyping I've seen since "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" played on Al-Jazeera.

You have Hutch (Jon Foster...an extra from "Terminator 3") as the broding, wants a real-life-but-can't-get-it-yet gamer who is loyal and friendly and oh-so-shy around the lady-types.

He is friends with October (Sophia Bush, a random hottie from "Van Wilder") and her brother Phineas (Jimmi Simpson from "Herbie Fully Loaded") October is the goth-wannabe who sort-of pines for Hutch but is constantly defending her brother, who can't say a line without offending some race or gender.

For example:"I beta tested once. It was a lot like eating *#(&$%: It's awesome at first, then it just gets (*&$)(% monotonous."

I can't stress to you how sleezy this character is. He's akin to a vat of grease being dumped on a car salesman. I don't know if that conjured up the right mental image, but it sure would be fun to see.

The headliner of this little story is Swink (Frankie Muniz, little Malcolm all grown up). Swink it the younger gamer, smarter and wanting much more to be a tough black kid over a wussy little nerd. His dialogue is generally the dumbest of any of the characters; ironic because he's supposed to be the smart one.

I guess the premise of this tale really sets it apart from the rest of the garbage out there today: If you die in a videogame, you die for real.

Let's say that one again, just in case it didn't sink in the first time: If you die in a VIDEOGAME, you DIE for REAL.

Lose enough brain cells yet?

The game is based off the legend of Count Bathory, the Blood Countess. Had the movie done away with the game and just been a story about Bathory's sick fetish for bathing in blood, this could have been genuinely creepifying and awesome.

Instead, it is lamer than a one-legged race horse.

What bothered me the most was the fact that everyone in the movie was clinically retarded. I'll give some evidence to support this claim.

In one scene, well into the movie, October is out smoking a cigarette. She sees a demon in a window of a half-built house. She throws the butt down in anger and, in a huff, GOES INSIDE TO INVESTIGATE ON HER OWN. Obviously she has a little trouble inside, what with the demonic videogame-graphic-looking Countess attacking her, so she ARMS HERSELF WITH A #(*&$*^%(*^ HAMMER AND NAILS.

For some reason, the writer didn't think the audience was smart enough to remember the title, so the characters mention it EVERY SCENE.

Swink: I'll play the game so we can all STAY ALIVE.
Phineas: The name of the game is STAY ALIVE.
Disembodied Voice: Your only way out is to STAY ALIVE.

I realized about halfway through that the title was really a warning for viewers. It was advice I found hard to follow, but I managed to STAY ALIVE until the end of the film.

I really really hated watching this movie, but not as much as I hate remembering it for this review. I'd like to spend hours telling you all about the hackneyed acting, the unbelievably bad gore, or the random "love story" that crops up like a case of herpes, but I would much rather stick my face into a lawnmower and try to whistle.

This movie gets no rating, as I cannot invent pain suitable for what it did to me.

If I hadn't watched a little "Shaun of the Dead" before now, I doubt I would have been able to STAY ALIVE.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

The main kid, Jon Foster, is Ben Foster's little brother.

Ben Foster, of Punisher and X-Men fame.

Also, i doubt anyone besides you or I saw this movie (yes, I did, by myself...I wanted to know what the crap it all meant), but Elizabeth Bathory was a supposed witch...and a female, so change the "Count" title you gave her. You may remember her as my character of choice when we used to play "Nightmare".

Also, I can't believe you didn't mention the true headliner of the movie, and naturally the first to die, Adam Goldberg.

But yea. this movie was ridiculous. In so many ways.