[Stay Alive] My computer is still acting up so no MMOs for me still. It is kind of funny how I’ve become the cliche MMO player that finds himself with so much extra free time when he can’t play his games. They could make a Penny Arcade about me. I’ve taken this extra time to attend a few games of the World Baseball Classic and to go to the movies for the first time in a while. I saw V for Vendetta which was flawed but still great. Before the film there was a trailer for a horror film called Stay Alive from the producer of Charlie’s Angels and The OC about gamers being killed. It appears we have reached a social milestone: the first MMO film.
According to the trailer there are 100 million gamers in America and 1 in 4 is addicted. I guess they added this debatable statistic to give illusion that their little horror film starring WB actors and the kid from Malcolm in the Middle is some sort of important film about the next addiction epidemic. If this film is successful maybe they can do a movie about an evil MySpace profile. I guess I’m lucky my computer is broken, otherwise I too could be playing an evil MMO. Well, maybe the game in Stay Alive isn’t evil. The trailer sure makes it seem that way though. It even has a scary little girl. I think every horror film since The Ring has had a scary child. We’ll have to wait until the film comes out to find out if the game is in fact evil or someone has just decided to do a series of MMO themed murders. Oh wait, I just found a plot synopsis. It seems the game in the film is possesed by Elizabeth Báthory. So this film is not only rooted the ripped-from-the-headlines world of video game addiction, it also has a historical element.
Despite my completely unfair criticisms of the film based upon a trailer and a plot synopsis, I’m still rooting for it. Not because I think they have a good premise or original plot, but simply because I have dabbled in movie making on occasion and I know how difficult it is. Based on what I’ve seen so far this is just your regular date night horror film with some MMO references thrown in to set it apart from others in the genre. It isn’t seeking to be one of the new wave of artsy horror films like the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake.
Games based on movies have had a notoriously bad track record, but movies about games or gaming haven’t been much better either. Most genre films have had a rough start. Comic fans had to endure Superman vs. Richard Pryor, the Adam West Batman, the Joel Schumacher Batman, and Spawn before the more faithful adaptions of today such as Spider-Man, Batman Begins, and The Punisher. Video games in general have been turned into such atrocities as Super Mario Bros., Double Dragon, Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat (I admit I loved it as a kid), House of the Dead, and BloodRayne. The Resident Evil films can be added to the list except I actually liked the first film, despite it having little resemblance to the game. Actually, except for Mortal Kombat, none of these films resembled the games they were based on besides having characters with the same names. It has been said that that the success of X-Men and Spider-Man have led to the current crop of more faithful and less campy comic book films. Many hope that the upcoming Silent Hill movie and the Peter Jackson produced Halo movie will have the same effect for video game movies.
Stay Alive is based upon a fictional game that from the trailers appears to be a mix between Resident Evil, The Sims, and F.E.A.R. The game appears to be console based as we see the actors use PS2 controllers in the trailer. The fact that they speak to each other using headsets implies the game is a MMO. I have a feeling that they’re going to get MMO culture completely wrong the same way Mazes and Monsters and The Wizard misrepresented Dungeons and Dragons and the NES gamers respectively. They probably won’t even call anyone a noob in the film.