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Stay Alive (2006)

Directed by William Brent Bell Written by William Brent Bell & Matthew Peterman

Hearing the premise for the film it would certainly appear to have all the appeal for a good idea. What, with all these kids playing video games non-stop nowadays. Combined with the fact that subsided in the Horror genre there are types of films that pertain to teens. The problem is that they can turn out to be some of the most horrific and just plain silly attempts to frighten and entertain an audience. So with all that in your mind, I’ve decided to go through some films I may be referring to. I too, was once a teenager with bad taste, arguable better bad taste but bad taste regardless. Unless speaking of the great Wes Craven, I have yet to see a director make Horror films relating to the topic of teen horror in a way that is clever, terrifying, and all around brilliant every single time. *I’M NOT WORTHY, I’M NOT WORTHY*

When a game that hasn’t come out yet starts making its rounds with an unfitted miscreant group of friends, panic starts to rise when they start realizing that “if you die in the game, you die in real life.” The problem is upon viewing the film it becomes painfully obvious that the cheap tricks and CGI used to frighten, over drawn out acting from the cast or often at times ridicules dialogue begged the question of how was able to see the whole film without catching a few zzzz’s along the way.

Even if a teen horror film does have a good enough idea, a young fresh cast that the audience should root for would be nice. I couldn’t necessarily bring myself to do that through this film. Acting in the lead role was Jon Foster who yes, is Ben Fosters younger sibling. Of which Ben didn’t mind passing down the script to younger brother after deciding against it, for whatever reason. Smart move Ben. Dealing with a hidden tragedy concerning fire there is certainly more than enough foretelling what eventually what will have to occur in order to make our hero strong again. In all actuality though, Jon fit the role rather nicely and had all the right appeal for the lead. He just wasn’t able to make the movie any more entertaining due to that fact. Entertaining the audience is an easy enough task but if the material is lacking, no amount of skill can save it.

The other two male leads were Frankie Muniz and Jimmi Simpson, Simpson’s character being the older brother to Sophia Bush’s character. Most notorious for Malcolm in the Middle, Muniz is no stranger to films. Definitely one to the Horror genre and perhaps for good reason. Playing the quintessential computer nerd Muniz could barely deliver his one liners with enough comedic timing to save the dialogue from this film. Simpson usually plays the funny sidekick/freeloader and believe it or not, played the funny older sibling. Shocker. But he and Muniz are different realms of comedy and weren’t able to interact as would if cast with better partners. The batch of actors they tried to pair together didn’t fit and probably another reason the equation for the film didn’t work well.

Taking the lead female roles were Sophia Bush and Samaire Armstrong. Armstrong played the random, coy and oh so pretty innocent stranger who seemed just as surprised on how much knowledge she caught onto when starting the game with the group. To accomplish such a daunting task while never forgetting to pucker her lips and capturing the audience with her adolescent charm, truly original. The one upside being able to see Sophia Bush as something other than her typical typecast in past roles. Pulling off the darker hair, tattoos and being the sole appealing character to follow. But then they kill her off and you know there’s little hope for the rest of the film. Especially because of how often you heard the phrase “stay alive” throughout the film. We get it! If you die in the game, you die in real life. Was it so necessary to repeat constantly after discovering the fact? Were you trying to remind yourself of the task at hand?

What was most upsetting was that the idea for the film was good. Maybe I was expecting too much. Because I’m sure with some more money, better attuned acting choices and a bigger production team backing the film, it could have been more entertaining. Everything just came together all wrong and racked up more ideas on what could be changed rather than seeing anything that should have been kept. Maybe in a couple of years when they’ve already re-made movies that they have no business remaking to begin with, they can move on to reworking on scripts that weren’t done right the first time around.