Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||William Brent Bell|
|Produced by||Gary Barber
|Written by||William Brent Bell
|Music by||John Frizzell|
|Editing by||Mark Stevens|
Wonderland Sound and Vision
Stay Alive Productions
|Distributed by||Hollywood Pictures|
|Release date(s)||March 24, 2006|
|Running time||Theatrical cut
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, brief sexual and drug content.
A person in a video game is spotted entering an eerie mansion. He walks past a broken mirror, where an image of a dead girl appears in the mirror, foreshadowing an attack by an Undead. The character flees up the stairs, spies an undead girl in the hallway, and enters a room where two dead bodies, covered in blood, hang from the ceiling. Out of the gloom lunges a woman wearing a blood red dress. She knocks him off the staircase banister, and the character is killed when he is hanged by a chandelier chain. The player of the game (Stay Alive), Loomis Crowley (a cameo appearance by Milo Ventimiglia), asks his friend Hutch MacNeil (Jon Foster) to come over. When Hutch turns him down, Loomis then accidentally walks in on his friends Rex (Billy Slaughter) and Sarah (Nicole Oppermann) having sex. After an embarrassing conversation he goes to bed but is later woken by a nightmare. As he returns from getting a glass of milk, he hears a strange vibrating noise, and a shadow approaches him. After finding Rex and Sarah dead, their bodies hung from the ceiling like the ones he saw in the game, the woman in the game appears and pushes him off the banister, and Loomis is killed by a chain wrapped around his neck before he has a chance to land, eerily similar to his character's death in the game.
Hutch is then seen in his office, where he is an intern at a business corporation. Hutch's boss and friend, Miller (Adam Goldberg), asks to see him, when really he only wants gaming advice on Silent Hill. After discussing the video game, the phone rings, and the call is for Hutch. The phone call informs Hutch that his close friend, Loomis, who Hutch was just talking to the night before, has died. At the funeral, Hutch is given all of Loomis' games and papers by Loomis’s younger sister Emma (Lauren Lorbeck) including "Stay Alive". The sight of the game disturbs Hutch, as it had been the game Loomis was playing hours before he died. At the funeral, a blonde girl named Abigail (Samaire Armstrong) approaches him with an old-fashioned camera she takes a picture of him and identifies herself, as a close friend to Loomis's roommate, Sarah.
After the funeral, Hutch arrives at a video-game coffee shop owned and run by his goth girlfriend October (Sophia Bush) and her brother Phineus (Jimmi Simpson). Hutch hands October the bag containing Loomis' possessions, and October thumbs through a photo album and Phin finds an old lighter. The lighter triggers a trauma vision of the past for Hutch. These trauma visions are shown throughout the film. Phin eventually finds Stay Alive, when they decide to play that night.
October, Phin, and another friend Swink (Frankie Muniz) arrive at Hutch's house. Arriving with them is Abby, who Hutch invited at Loomis's funeral. To start the game, the players have to recite the "The Prayer of Elizabeth", the game intro. After a few hours of gaming, Miller, who had been attacked by a mob of undead children, finds his way into what appears to be a torture chamber. Suddenly, the woman who killed Loomis kills Miller's character by stabbing him in the throat, and Miller dies a few minutes later the same way, with the same silver shears used to kill his character.
When Hutch returns to work he find's out through Detectives Thibodeaux (Wendell Pierce) and King (Rio Hackford) that Miller was killed, the same way he did in the game.When Phin acts disrespectively to Miller's death him and Hutch have an argument, October and Swink manage to calm Hutch down after he tells them his suspicions. While this is happening Phin plays the game and just before he dies in the game he pauses it and notes to Swink and Hutch that The Countess can't break reflective surfaces.Everyone goes out for a while with Hutch doing research on the murders and realizes that Loomis, Rex, Sarah, and Miller died the same way they died in Stay Alive. Hutch calls everyone together to reveal his findings when he notices Phin's absence, they call him and they learn he's on his way and he insists he's safe because he hasn't died in the game yet. Despite this, the Countess's horse-drawn carriage runs him down, killing him before the others arrive to see him. October is grief-stricken by her brother's death and swears revenge against the Countess.
Thibodeaux and King arrive on the scene, and King decides to play Stay Alive, as he is curious about the game. Hutch tries to stop him, but fails to shut down the computer before the King's character dies. King is later seen at a video game store asking about the game he just played. When the clerk says he has no knowledge of the game, King returns to his car, and has his head ripped in half, dying the exact same way he had died in the game. Hutch and Abby go to Loomis's house and here we learn that Hutch's dad burnt his house down killing Hutch's mother and he is now in prison, thus explaining his fear of fire. In Loomis's house we learn the address of the game developer and they go to his mansion. Assuming no one is home they go in and meet the antagonistic Jonathan Malkus (James Haven). He tells them about how he based his game off The Blood Countess and gives them the address of a local author (Alice Krige), she tells them about Elizabeth Bathory, a sadistic murderess so evil that she was sealed in the very plantation she lived on. The Countess's undead spirit is killing those who play Stay Alive to fulfill her vow of returning. It then cuts to October and Swink who are talking to Hutch over the phone, October explains that in order to kill the Countess you must find her tower, and trap her in her own body. She explains that in order to trap her you must puncture three nails in her heart, one in her throat, and another in her head. Swink then notices the television and exclaims that King who had played the game died. October and Swink then hear police cars coming for them, among them Thibodeaux, they end up escaping through a fire exit.
The gang then regroups at Loomis' house to see what can be done. Soon Hutch realizes that October is not with them, and asks Swink about it, he says that she is out for a smoke and realizes that the video game is then playing on his laptop when he exclaims that he had never turned it on. The three see Octobers character walking around the neighborhood, they realize that this must be going on right at the moment, and they run off to find October. During this, October is smoking and sees a face of a dead woman in a constructing home. She finds courage and walks in; she wants revenge for her brother's death. She finds a nail gun, ready to trap the Countess in her real body on the plantation. She's unable to since they go right through. She changes her mind at the last moment and runs away. Her legs end up in the shackles she saw earlier while she was searching for her weapon. The chains drag her back into the room with the Countess and hangs her there. She dangles upside down while the Countess watches calmly. The Countess then slices October's throat, killing her. The gang is only outside by this point and find themselves too late. Realizing that the game is now playing itself, Hutch, Swink and Abigail drive to the developer's house, thinking that he might be able to stop it.
Swink, Abigail and Hutch decide to investigate inside the mansion. Swink decides to stay behind and play the game as a distraction for the Countess. Hutch and Abigail go inside the mansion and they soon split up. Hutch goes into one of the downstairs room while Abigail wanders upstairs. She walks into a room that looks similar. She remembers a huge dresser that was opened in the game that led to a secret room. She furthers her curiosity and opens the dresser leading to the same hidden room that was in the game. She walks up the stairs and notices different disturbing objects in the room. She looks around and notices the Countess's diary, which reveals on it the girls she has killed. Soon the electricity goes out, leaving Abigail alone in the dark with the Countess, she discover's Malkus's body; his throat slashed. Hutch has been following directions from Swink and we realize that Malkus's house is the Bathory plantation. Hutch then stops at a large gate when he hears Abigail's screams from inside the house. He then asks Swink where the fastest way to Abigail is. Swink guides him through the house, and Hutch arrives in the same room Abigail is in. He sees Abigail being held down by two deceased little girls while the Countess is about to kill Abigail with her knife. Hutch can't get in fast enough and Swink decides to try and throw a rose at the Countess in the game and it works since the Countess disappears in real life too, and throws a rose in front of Abby so they all disappear. Swink, distracted on the phone with Hutch, notices too late that the van's back doors slam shut, leaving him out of it. The game unpauses by itself and his character stands in the middle of the street and a black carriage storms towards him. He reaches his hand through an opening and is able to steer his character away from the carriages path in time before it got him. After breaking into the van and noticing things in the game are happening at the same time in real life, Swink has to run down the path to the plantation with the Countess's carriage not too far behind. He trips and falls into a bunch of rose vines and struggles to get out only to notice the Countess out of her carriage. She pulls out a pair of rose cutters and he stares at them in horror. It then shows the screen on his laptop back in the van with Swink's character lying dead on a rose bush with his wrists slit with red words over the screen. GAME OVER.
After what appears to be Swink's death, Hutch investigates the large gate that he was at before he had heard Abigail's screams while Abigail picks as many roses as she can fit in her bag and soon run through the plantation cemetery towards the tower. They see the black carriage following them and they find a basement. Hutch pushes Abigail inside and locks the door, while he looks behind him and sees the carriage coming at him fast. He braces himself and then lifts a rose out of the bag and puts it in front of him, making the carriage vanish and the flower wilt. Hutch joins Abigail and while in the tunnels, Hutch and Abigail look for the entrance to the tower.
They leave roses on the path in the tunnel leading into the tower. Soon it shows a close up of a rose that they left burning. They turn around after hearing smacking sounds and see one dead girl on the floor with her hair down, crawling towards them. In a second, more girls following them in quick but dead manner. They run away and are able to lock themselves into a room. They look around for a short moment and realize that it was Elizabeth's alter. Abby looks around while Hutch goes through a door and looks around on the staircase. Suddenly, the door slams shut leaving Abby alone in the alter while Hutch panics and tries to open the door, telling her that he's not going to leave her in there and will get it open. She then pleads with him to go ahead and tells him that he needs to do this. He pushes a rose toward her through the gate window in the door. He then proceeds up the stairs while she sits alone as the lights dim and go black while she's plucking the rose into a pile in front of her repeating "he loves me, he loves me not".
Abigail is locked in the torture chamber. When Hutch reaches the tower, he finds the Countess's body, amazingly well-preserved. He's able to get the nails in her body in the correct places and it shows her fingers twitching. He's able to trap her in her body just before her spirit is able to kill Abby whom she chained by her feet in the ceiling about to slit her throat. He knows the only way to truly get rid of her once she's in her body is to "burn a witch's blood" as October had told him. He then hears clinks and turns around in time to see the last nail coming out of the Countess. She sits up and gets out of the bed, staring him down. Hutch then notices his laptop is reflective and uses it to show the Countess her image and she yells, putting a gruesome look on her face. He throws a cigarette lighter into gasoline, setting her on fire and the room. He realizes the door is locked, and he accepts the fact that he's going to be killed by fire, until Swink, who cheated the game after the Countess cheated him, and Abigail kick the door open and rescue him. You then literally see the witch Elizabeth burning.
The movie ends in a video game store, showing a clerk seeing the game and wanting to play. The camera zooms in on his laptop showing Elizabeth standing at her window. It reveals that Stay Alive is now being officially released across the country. The last words are the incantation that resurrects the countess. “Come to me, clouds. May you rise as an evil storm born to rip them open. Let the cover of night bear witness and destroy those who resist so they shall harm me not. Let the blood of many cleanse me, preserving beauty eternal, I pray you.”
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 magazine 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.
Stay Alive is a 2006 movie where a video game based on the Countess Elizabeth Bathory comes to life and starts killing its players in the same manner in which they died in the game. Directed by William Brent Bell and written by William Brent Bell and Matthew Peterman.