"Stay Alive" Hits DVD

Posted by jgaudiosi :: Hollywood & Video Games

Stayalive_1"Stay Alive" is now out on DVD in an unrated director's cut. The theatrical release took in over $23.5 million, which was a success for the low-budget videogame horror movie. It's likely that Disney will greenlight a sequel to the film, especially if the DVD sales take off. Traditionally, even game movies that have bombed at the box office reap huge DVD sales domestically and internationally. Writer/director William Brent Bell and writer Matthew Peterman are both gamers. This makes "Stay Alive" a crossover horror film that will engage the mainstream audience, while adding an extra layer of detail to those who play games. It's one of the best implementations of the videogame culture I've seen on film so far.

Although this movie was shot on a very low budget in New Orleans before Katrina decimated the region, the movie looks like a big budget feature. The young cast of actors, which includes recognizable faces like Frankie Munoz and Jimmi Simpson, are believable as gamers--likely because most of the cast are gamers. In fact, there were game consoles on set for the actors to "research" their roles during the shoot.

The videogame sequences were also spot-on. Epic Games videogame creator Cliff Bleszinski served as a consultant on the film. He worked with the filmmakers to ensure that the CGI game sequences looked like real in-game content. It worked. Aside from some weird shifting between first-person and third-person perspective gaming, the in-game sequences serve up the same amount of tension as the live action sequences. That's quite a feat.

What really stood out to me was that Bell and Peterman crafted an original story and mythology that blends videogames with real horror. The evil spirit that inhabits the game comes from a real legend, which offers plenty of room for additional stories.

Now that the first film was a success at the box office, Bell and Peterman should have better luck with the sequel in bringing about their master plan. While the Hollywood studios weren't interested in the creation of a real online videogame tied to the movie for the first outing, it seems likely that some type of interactive component for the second film will be possible. This type of convergence will allow film fans to explore the horror videogame world that they've seen in the film.

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