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Look out for more coverage of
Stay Alive in our magazines

THE MOVIE: Stay Alive

THE STARS:
Sophia Bush • Frankie Muniz • Samaire Armstrong
DIRECTOR: William Brent Bell

Play the game, and die… THE CONCEPT:
A group of kids in New Orleans come across a horror-survival video game called ‘Stay Alive,’ and when they die in the game, they start to die in real life in the same way.

U.S. RELEASE: March 24 2006, Nationwide
• Rated: PG-13

THE COMMENTS:

WILLIAM BRENT BELL:
“The game is based on this woman named Elizabeth Bathory, who was actually a real woman who lived in the 1500s and murdered a bunch of virgin girls. It’s a very chilling, very scary, very fun action game.”

MATTHEW PETERMAN (co-writer):
“We stumbled across Bathory through research, and we were really surprised that she isn’t more well-known, because she was one of the inspirations for Bram Stoker’s Dracula. There have been a lot of books about her, so we were really surprised that nobody tried to tell her story. For us she was the perfect villain, and the perfect central character to base this game in the movie around. She bathed in the blood of women. She’s in the Guinness Book of World Records as the number-one female serial killer of all time. She tortured these girls and bled them dry and drank their blood. We took her story and, with a little bit of poetic license, took the fast few years of her life and placed her in old plantation land in New Orleans, as if she was run off from Romania. We’ve really only scratched the surface of her mythology in this first movie.”

BELL on how he creates a scary atmosphere for the actors:
“We filmed on location at creepy New Orleans plantation homes that were 300 years old, so it wasn’t hard to feel that vibe of this ghost town, or this city full of ghost stories. Just visually, certain sets and certain characters were pretty scary.”

BELL on filming the movie in New Orleans:
“We finished filming June 10, so we were out of there five, six weeks before the hurricane hit. I think we were one of the last movies that actually finished there. It was very bittersweet. It was surreal to see pictures of it after the hurricane and see streets and buildings that we frequented almost every day that were completely underwater. New Orleans is an amazing city, and I’m sure it will be again.”

BELL on shooting an R rated movie that is now a PG-13:
“We shot the movie as R, but we didn’t have a distributor, and when Hollywood Pictures came on board, the first thing was, ‘Okay, you have to make this a PG-13.’ But in looking at what by definition is a PG-13 Horror film, we can’t believe that we didn’t get an R. We can’t believe we’ve been able to have this film be completed and be okay that it’s a PG-13. It’s really a cool movie, and it’s got a lot of cool violence stuff. And even the game itself is rated M for Mature, so we thought they were going to make us take the whole thing out.”

PETERMAN:
“What we cut doesn’t change the movie; what we cut didn’t change the intensity that the characters are going through or what’s happening to them.”

Written by David Waldon. Back to top

Visit the official Stay Alive site
Images above © Hollywood Pictures
Feature © 2006 Visual Imagination.
Not for reproduction.

Film Review, #668, April 2006 cover

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