Stay Alive

Movie review by
Cynthia Fuchs, Common Sense Media
Stay Alive Movie Poster Image
Ridiculous slasher flick. Teens, go elsewhere.
  • PG-13
  • 2006
  • 85 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 8 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 17 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

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.

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
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 Recommen... Continue reading
Parent Written byPlague December 3, 2009

Stay Alive

My kid wanted to see this movie for his 8th birthday (go figure), so we did. He must have loved the movie, but I though it was pretty cheesey. The story within... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bySSundee June 15, 2021

Ridiculous slasher flick. Teens, go elsewhere. Not for kids.

This movie is not for kids! This movie has people failed the video game and they die for real. I can't believe Stay Alive it's rated PG-13 and as well... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old January 8, 2021

Seriously, just don’t.

Tedious ‘hero’s journey’ plot with what seems like a never-ending stream of bloodshed. It is incredibly predictable, and contains much unnecessary on-screen gor... Continue reading

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.

Talk to your kids 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

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