FEBRUARY 22, 2007
There’s a pretty hilarious article on the Onion about Catwoman, I think it’s called “Movie Praised For Not Being As Awful As It Could Have Been”. It goes on to discuss a few moviegoers who were surprised to discover that a couple brief moments of the film were actually pretty good, and, in my favorite part, one guy says he expected to ask for his money back, but afterwards decided he only wanted SOME of his money back. Good stuff.
I was reminded of this particular article when I watched Stay Alive, because my expectations were so abysmally low (in fact, the only real reason I wanted to watch it was for Sophia Bush) that I was shocked to discover it was actually a pretty decent movie, considering its pedigree. I don’t think any film in history had so many strikes against it right from the start:
- It was PG-13
- It starred Malcolm in the Middle
- It was from Hollywood pictures (“If it’s the Sphinx, it stinks!”)!
- It was released the same time as Slither, a great movie that got its ass kicked at the box office by this one.
- It’s a video game movie not based on an actual game. Like Brainscan!
- Sophia Bush does not shower, shoot a man in the face, or jump out of a car that had previously exploded, as she did in another film I saw only for her: The Hitcher (and that one was better than I expected too. Maybe it’s just her).
Now that first bit, about the rating: For all I know this movie is unwatchable in its PG-13 form. I won’t be bothering to watch it. This is based on the unrated cut on the DVD, which, for once, is actually a stronger film. There is no way the film presented here could ever be PG-13. At least a dozen F-bombs, a head being torn apart, other assorted gore, some nudity... it won’t ever be mistaken for Saw or Hostel, but I can’t imagine how badly the film had to be edited in order to secure the PG-13. So in a way, it’s unfair to lump it in with The Grudge or Pulse or whatever other recent PG-13 “horror” movies are out there.
The acting is mixed, Sophia Bush and Jimmi Simpson (playing her brother) fare best. Bush plays a goth-y chick who is constantly rubbing the main dude’s back, but I’m pretty sure they are just friends. I wish I had friends that looked like Sophia Bush that would rub my back every 5 minutes or so. Oh well. Simpson plays an obnoxious character but he gets a few laughs (his comparison of beta testing to cunnilingus is one highlight) and also sings an Air Supply song (NOT “Making Love Out Of Nothing At All” though, dammit), which automatically endears him to me. Malcolm in the Middle is kind of annoying, and he doesn’t die (what kind of slasher movie lets two of the DUDES live?) so that was disappointing. Heroes’ Milo Ventimiglia shows up as a guy named Loomis who is the first one to die.
Speaking of “Loomis”, all of the people in the movie have really stupid names. Loomis, Hutch, October, Fin, Swink... the only normal one is Abigail, a girl who’s NOT a gamer, thus putting her in the standard role of the “This movie is about something some people might not be familiar with so we need you around through the whole movie to say exposition-ish things to for the n00bs in the audience” person.
The Breckin Meyer-esque Jon Foster plays the lead role, and he’s OK I guess. I personally dislike him because he dates Sophia Bush in real life. Dick.
All in all, I wouldn’t go running around telling my hardcore horror friends to watch it (because, unlike me, they’d worry about looking dumb for saying they liked it. I, on the other hand, have no shame.), but I WILL stick up for it if someone knocks it without having seen it. It won’t win any awards, but it’s a solid little “horror lite” movie that doesn’t deserve to be lumped in with its tween-thriller brethren.
...again, for the hell of it, I’d like to say: Sophia Bush.
What say you?