Stay Alive Movie Poster Image

Stay Alive

Ridiculous slasher flick. Teens, go elsewhere.
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Horror
  • Release Year: 2006
  • Running Time: 85 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Gamers are so devoted to their avocation that they don't attend to legal or other niceties; cops are arrogant and ineffectual; the monstrous Countess, of course, only means to grind them all down.


Frequent jump scenes and scary music (not so effective, but the intent is clear); film opens on bloody eye; reference to a childhood trauma in which a father burned his wife to death and left his son to die; video game violence is bloody and brutal (stabbing, dismembering, hanging, shooting, crossbowing); real-life characters are similarly abused, and also run down by a horse-drawn carriage, splatted in a car (seen from a distance, blood on windows), nailed in the head, hung upside down, set on fire.


Early sex scene shows two young people, from the back, one wearing a pig mask; reference to " PDA sex thing" player gets excited and says, " can feel it in my pants."


Some profanity, including s-word, "," hell," "," "," " Jesus," and some sexual innuendo.


Alienware PCs, Steamboy movie poster, Fresca soda, Pontiac GTO.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Characters smoke cigarettes; one character appears passed out, then reveals the reason: a huge bong.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that film includes frequent references to killing and images of murder. Though most of the violent acts (stabbing, shooting, neck-slicing) are intimated rather than graphic, the bloody effects are very visible. The video game at the film's center is based on a real-life legend (a 17th-century Hungarian Countess who supposedly killed hundreds of children), and her young, white-gowned victim-ghosts appear as bloody, ravaged and broken (digitized) forms. After first murders (including a hanging), characters attend a funeral. One character lies about her family background (pretending to be of a higher social class). One early sex scene features two naked young people, one in a pig mask; the primary couple kisses near the end (typically, just when you think they should be running away!). Two characters smoke cigarettes; one smokes marijuana via a bong.

What's the story?

When a nerdishly enthusiastic player (Milo Ventimiglia) tries the unreleased video game "Stay Alive," he and two friends end up viciously murdered, a new crew gets hold of the game, including earnest Hutch (Jon Foster), dorky Phineus (Jimmi Simpson) and tech-head Swink (Frankie Muniz). The requisite girls are Phin's gothy sister October (Sophia Bush) and last minute tagalong Abigail (Samaire Armstrong). When Phin insists that they should all game in honor of their fallen gamer friend, the game provides them with muscular avatars, guns and crossbows, then leads them to a terrible place featuring a dungeon, torture, and mayhem, where they start dying in real life the ways they die in the game.

Is it any good?


Ridiculous and then some, STAY ALIVE offers the usual slasher movie set-up: young people making one wrong decision after another. Here they're up against a video game character, the "Blood Countess" (Maria Kalinina), complete with red gown and pasty face. She's based on a real life Hungarian serial killer, transferred to New Orleans (where some of the film was shot, just before Hurricane Katrina hit last year), and is accompanied by ghosts of her victims, little girls in white dresses and J-horror-styled stringy hair.

The painfully necessary romance between Hutch and Abigail slows down the action somewhat, especially as she must send him forth to fight the Countess on his own, while she stays behind in a barred room and counts off rose petals to the hackneyed tune of "He loves me, he loves me not." This just before Swink comes back from the apparent dead, to restore the endangered pretty couple. Why, we'll never know.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the relationships between friends and, in one case, sister and brother. How do these bonds lead them to investigate the murders and then get in trouble? How can video games or other media affect your sense of reality and responsibility, or your social life?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:March 24, 2006
DVD/Streaming release date:September 19, 2006
Cast:Frankie Muniz, Milo Ventimiglia, Samaire Armstrong
Director:William Brent Bell
Studio:Touchstone Pictures
Run time:85 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:violence, disturbing images, language, and brief sexual and drug content.

This review of Stay Alive was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Ratings

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate.

Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 13 years old Written byEmo_Emmie April 9, 2008


I liked this movie. I mean the first scene is a 3-second flash of a screaming zombie! How more PG-13 could you get? This shouldn't've been rated PG-13; it had a lot of action. I liked this movie though, they all die in the most creative ways. I mean, isn't it awesome to go flipping off a balcony, landing on a chandelier, breaking your neck, and hang on the chandelier like you're on a noose? Yeah, sounds real PG-13 to me. But anyways, I liked it.
Adult Written byTV-14-DLSV Teen Boy April 1, 2012

Cool Movie.

Stay Alive is a Good Slasher Movie FOR OLDER TEENS. I have the unrated version though. But I think It's Too Strong to be RATED: PG-13. I Really Recommend This Movie.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 13 years old Written byKinKin5 November 1, 2014


The original common sense media tells that this movie's violence has 5/5 for violence. Which is not true. There are scenes that make it look violent but there are never any full views of stabbing etc. there is no sex, except a 5sec clip in the beginning. There are lots of blood scenes but no views of cutting or open wounds. There are 3 uses of sh*t and one use of fu*k. There is one girl who smokes for 5sec but there is hardly any drinking and no drugs. Parents should definitely let their teens watch this if over the age of 11 yrs
What other families should know
Great role models