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Stay Alive (DVD)

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Genre: Horror / Theatrical Release: 2006 / Director: William Brent Bell / Actors: Sophia Bush, Frankie Muniz ... / DVD released 26 November, 2006 at Universal Pictures UK / Features of the DVD: Dubbed, PAL, Widescreen

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    9 Reviews
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      02.09.2011 09:25
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      A so-so horror movie that tries and only partially succeeds in being original!

      Stay Alive is a 2006 horror flick that owes much to other successful horrors such as The Ring and Final Destination amongst others and has been described by some as The Grudge meets Xbox!

      It all begins when a computer programmer begins Beta-testing a new game that is based on a familiar survival-horror format. Your character, which you can design to pretty much look like you, enters an old mansion and then has to basically stay alive whilst being attacked by all manner of beasties and demonic beings. The Big Boss ultimately being a scary looking lady armed with shears. But when he dies in the game, he and every one else in the house are brutally killed in real life. Him, in the same manner as how he died in the game.....

      A close friend, who was talking to him that night on the phone while he played, receives a copy of the game when he attends his friends funeral and, interested, invites some of his friends to play. All donning headsets, the group enter the game and soon find themselves being killed off one by one. And then the deaths in real-life start occurring.....as connections are made, the group discover that the game is based around a real-life local urban legend but can they uncover the truth before it kills them all?

      This really isn't a bad film but I think you kinda have to be a gamer and played these games to appreciate it! The game itself is very close to Silent Hill in looks and theme and there are a few tense moments that owe much to Final Destination but ultimately, the whole thing just relys on too many connections to other movies to be a total success and a distinct lack of blood and gore, the camera panning away at the last minute, really doesn't do it any favours!

      The cast includes Malcom In The Middle and one of the later characters from the O.C and you get the impression that they only took this gig to help keep their profiles high, unsuccessfully as it turns out because I don't recall seeing either of them in anything else! Still, they do the best they can with the script they are given which features a lot of "I can't believe this is happening" and the traditional sceptical Police who refuse to believe anything sinister is occurring even when one of their number is also killed!

      Overall, this is okay but one to rent not buy! The ending kind of sucks, there is no real explanation of who is producing the game and too much reliance on vague spiritual folklore. But it does look good in places and for something that is obviously not that high a budget, it really is okay. I enjoyed it but don't think I would bother watching it again when there is so much better out there but for a single watch, all I can say is it was alright!

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        02.06.2011 12:15
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        The game is out to kill and you're objective is to stay alive

        When I first saw this DVD I thought it looked intreugingly different. On the cover you have a pair of hands in shackles holding onto a games controller like their holding onto their life - this is a nice imagary effect for what the film goes into. As I stated in the title - you die in the fame and you're dead for real and if you don't play then you're putting your life at risk. There aren't any big stars that I know of and the film is based on Countess Erzebet Bathory AKA Elizabeth Bathory (hungarian dutchess).

        Now to understand the film fully I suppose I should give some background information on Ms Bathory. Erzebet was a hungarian dutchess - royalty - in the 1500s. She had married a count and they did sickly things such as beating their servants to an inch of death, covering them in honey and setting a swarm of bees onto them, chucking them into the snow naked and pelting them with ice, hanging them in the torture chamber and cutting off their genitals or setting them on fire (yes while they were alive) so it's safe to say the mad couple were sick. Shortly after Bathory's husband had died she became worst - she had servants bringing her virgin girls to her so that she could bite them and start to eat them alive. Shortly after she was found out she was bricked away in her room with a small hole so that food could be passed through to her. Conspirors were sentenced to death - conspirors who were all of which members of the church. e.g. bishops and vicars. So why virgins... Bathory sincerely believed that the blood of a virgin would make her young and youthful and she daren't look into a mirror because of watching herself age. She was the original inspiration for the novel by Bram Stoke which everybody should be familiar with as "Dracular" - Yes dracula wasn't a he she was in fact a she Vlad Dracule was just the name and imagery for what I would like to call a very sexist Bram Stoke.
        Now what has that got to do with the film? A group of friends are toasting the beginning of a game to a dear friend who recently became deceast. The last game he played before he died was in fact "Stay Alive" He was then hanged in his house where his body was found. Now what about the friends - well they start playing the game. Whilst they are playing they instantly realise how freakingly good the game is through voice technology and the fact that their characters in the game are the spitting image of them in person. So as they play - one dies. They decide to call it a night and the next morning their friend is dead. They then start to notice that the coincidences happening that link with the death as well as the deaths in the game and start to believe that the game is coming to life - all that can spare them more time are roses. The group of friends are being murdered one by one and are now in a race with the game to defeat Bathory and cleanse her spirit so that she doesn't come back.

        The character performances weren't that good but they weren't exactly terrible. The only actor I did recognise was Frankie Muniz who plays the techno geek. Even still the acting was very much cheesey and if the acting would have been better then I think that the film itself would have been much better creditted then what people generally gave this film.
        The special effects weren't out of this world but they weren't bad either. They seemed a bit too gamified even when they weren't playing the game. I'm not sure if this was intentional or not but I think that with a bigger budget that this could have been a tad better as well. Maybe if the special effects for the CGI was in fact to interpret the game play then I think it would have been good to create the game around the actors whilst they were being murdered or something instead of just the vibrations and odd noise.

        This is quite a unique film in itself and it's a shame that there wasn't more spent to make this film better because the story itself had a much bigger potential than what it was given. Overall I can't really compare it to many films as I've not seen any films that are the same as this so I'll give this film a thumbs up for the story and a bit of a thumbs down for the rest - I just felt that this film could have been a lot better than what it was and it's a shame really. I wont comment on the soundtrack as there wasn't any specific soundtrack to go from if I'm honest.
        I don't think that this film is much to buy for now so I would recommend that you give this a go if you have a few mates coming round for a chin whag but it's not something that will terrify you a such - more of a "lets watch this while we eat our kebab so we don't have to go through the torment of Britain has no talent again." (I'm sorry I really hate that programme - I'd rather gouge my eyes out)

        You will also find this review on my Ciao account under Cherilyn92

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        02.11.2010 21:46
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        If you die in the game you die in real life

        Stay Alive (2006)

        Genre: horror/thriller

        Writer: William Brent Bell & Matthew Peterman
        Director: William Brent Bell

        Cast:
        John Foster - Hutch
        Frankie Muniz - Swink
        Somaire Armstrong - Abigail
        Jimmi Simpson - Phineus
        Sofia Bush - October
        Adam Goldberg - Miller Banks
        Wendell Pierce - Detective Thibodeaux

        Plot:
        A group of friends discover a realistic video game. After playing the game, the first friend that discovered it dies mysteriously. Soon a second and then a third of the friends dies. The remaining friends discover that all of their friends died in the same ways that they died in the video game. The friends discover that the game is based on the story of a 'Blood Countess', and they fear that she is the one behind the deaths. They vow to stop her before they become her next victims. Will they succeed, or will they too lose the game, and their lives?

        My thoughts:
        ** may contain spoilers **
        This is a below average to average movie at best. It's one of a number of movies that came out around the same time that had people dying after either watching a video, visiting a web site, receiving a phone call, or in this case playing a video game. However, the video game in this film is actually based on "The Blood Countess" Countess Elizabeth Bathory.
        The Countess' story is interesting, which is more than can be said for this movie; it's unoriginal, predictable and clichéd.
        I did like somewhat how the people in real life and the people in the game coincided and interacted.
        The directing was decent enough provided the material there was to work with.
        The cast is okay, but their performances are definitely subpar. They don't show nearly enough emotion or fear.
        Although the movie would be considered financially successful because it made more money than it cost to produce, it was by no means a hit. And, the movie was generally panned by critics, with good reason.
        Overall, this is a subpar movie with not much going for it. If you're looking for a good horror movie you can certainly and easily do better than this one. Unless you're a diehard horror fan with a goal of watching every horror movie ever made, I'd recommend skipping this one.

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          11.10.2010 17:52
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          think i'll stick with chick flicks!

          I'd never heard of this film before but a friend said that it was good and we ended up watching it at their house. It's a difference to what I'd normally watch as if I was going to choose to watch a film then I would generally go for a chick flick but this was a horror film.

          The basic premises of the film was that a group of friends were playing a game and when they died in the game, they died in real life. It starts off with a walk through the game, going into a strange, abandoned house, the game character goes up the stairway and then a figure plunges at them out of the dark and hangs them with a chandelier chain. Loomis, the person who was playing the game then goes to bed and wakes up after having a nightmare and the figure who killed him in the game hangs him in real life in a similar way. A group of friends has the game passed onto them, and then the same thing all starts happening to them, they decide that before the game takes all of them they are going to go and find the creator of the game and beat it.

          It's based on a true story about Elizabeth Bathory, the blood countess who killed hundreds of girls in her mansion, it incorporates elements of the legend into the story and killings such as her black carriage. However even though its probably a good thing that the game has a reason behind it rather than just randomly killing people, beyond this the story didn't seem to have much impact. Also it didn't make much sense within the setting. It was supposed to be realistic but you wouldn't be able to hide an abandoned mansion in the suburbs, and bringing a murderer back from the dead isn't very realistic either!

          It was alright but I lost interest in it quite quickly, and wouldn't really recommend it that much, it might be a good horror movie for teens who haven't watched a horror before as it is quite tame, with just a bit of blood and suspense.

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            25.11.2009 13:41
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            A so-bad-it's-bad film...

            note: also appears in part on Flixster and The Student Room

            I'm all for films that don't take themselves too seriously, but sometimes even these films can take the mickey a bit, particularly if they're ridiculous without actually being intentionally funny, as is true of Stay Alive, a pathetically crafted film that makes the fatal mistake of condescending its core target audience. If you're making a film targetted at gamers, you'd be better not criticise them with staid stereotypes about how gaming affects the mind and how the gamers are fat and unattractive. Therefore it's no surprise that the film was a critical flop, although it did manage to make a profit.

            The film has a very simple premise: a new video game arrives on the market called Stay Alive, but it has some very sinister applications. If you die in the game, you die in real life, and so, why, you ask, why don't they just turn the game off and never play it again? I have no idea. That's the first of many questions that can be asked about this woefully inane film that has no sense of direction, and never really satisfies. It does offer the occasional unintentional laugh, but mostly it's just a boring film that doesn't know which way to go: either as a serious horror or a campy thrill ride. It ultimately succeeds as neither and therefore is a total bust.

            Sta Alive is a true abomination of a film. Fortunately, the film is terrible enough to warrant laughter occasionally, although not enough. The anti-gaming ideology here is extremely worrying to me as a gamer, and the entire premise of the film sounds like a poor man's Brainscan.

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            26.08.2008 15:01
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            An average type of horror film with a good concept that just seems to be missing something.

            This on paper and when advertised sounded like it would be a really cool horror. A video game that records your every move and the outcome determines your fate in the real world. As said it had the potential yet it just fails slightly to come through with the goods.

            The story itself follows Hutch (Jon Foster) and his group of friends who spend most of their time doing as little as possible. The one thing they have in common however is video gaming.

            When Hutch's friend is found dead its seems the most obvious cause of death is suicide. However it soon turns out to be far from the truth and what follows is a secret and story going back centuries.

            Hutch ends up with a video game called 'Stay Alive' which is what his friend was playing just moments before his death. Of course the game is illegal, yet him and his friends can't resist and boot it up. The game tells of the story of a countess who was walled up in her tower after her crimes were discovered. It is said that she brutally murdered over 650 servant girls and bathed in their blood. The game resurrects the countess and challenges players to make it to the end to unearth the truth and solve the mystery. It leaves a shivering warning to all those that play however that in order to do so they must 'STAY ALIVE'

            From here the group create their avatar's and jump into the game. The game itself looks really good and you find yourself thinking I wish I could play that. The more they play the game they soon realise the dark and tragic truth which is, if you die in the game then you die in the real world. And how you die in the game determines how you die in the real world also. There is one instance where one of the characters is chased through the house and ends up hanging from the balcony. The body in the real world is found in the exact same way the following morning.

            The plot itself sounds stupid and to be fair it is but if you can look past this then it is a film that is worth a look. The video game looks really good and the idea was really good. It starts off really well when they begin playing the game but fades off later on.

            In my opinion if there was more time playing the game then the film would have been better, but it was all the time spent away from the game where the characters were running about in the real world trying to discover clues that kind of let the film down.

            Stay Alive is one of those films that your best checking out for your self as its one of those movies that will split the audience to either like it or dont like it.

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              01.04.2008 14:02
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              Trying to stay awake to see stay alive is a bit of a challenge!

              Take a great idea and a more than decent script, throw in some very inept acting and poor direction and you have the 2006 horror movie "stay alive". After seeing the trailer for this movie i had always intended to go to the cinema to see it but as with much things I just never got round to it then it was forgotten about. A few days ago however I saw it in my local asda priced just £4.99 so I grabbed myself a copy and sat down that night to watch it.

              A teenage boy is found dead from hanging, his best friend and the movies main character (Hutch) along with everyone else assumes it must be suicide. Hutch finds a PC game close by his friends body marked stay alive and is intrigued to find out what his friend had been playing or perhaps working on so he gathers a group of his friends together to play the game.

              The game turns out to be a horrifying portrayal of a true story about a 17th century noblewoman known as the blood countess. The game seems quite simple the characters in the game must explore a plantation solving puzzles as they go with a simple instruction that says to unlock the game's secrets they must stay alive.

              It soon becomes apparent however that this game had something to do with their friends death because it appears when it`s game over in the game it`s game over in real life. Once realising this and the fact that the game somehow takes you over and won't let you stop playing the group turn to the computer nerd in the bunch to try to figure out a way to defeat the game.

              As I mentioned earlier this looked to be a good idea for a movie and the trailers for the movie also made it seem appealing but in truth it lacked any sort of imagination when it got rolling and became very transparent as it went on. Add to that the poor acting and lack of direction and a good concept had very quickly become a bad movie. The soundtrack for the movie was none too bad and if you were at a very loose end the movie could be deemed watchable but other than that best avoided.

              The main cast

              Jon Foster ... Hutch
              Samaire Armstrong ... Abigail
              Frankie Muniz ... Swink
              Jimmi Simpson ... Phineas
              Wendell Pierce ... Detective Thibodeaux
              Milo Ventimiglia ... Loomis Crowley
              Sophia Bush ... October
              Adam Goldberg ... Miller Banks
              Billy Slaughter ... Rex
              Nicole Oppermann ... Sarah
              April Wood ... Loretta
              Monica Monica ... Mrs. Crowley
              Rio Hackford ... Detective King
              Billy Louviere ... Fidget

              The dvd

              Format: Color, Dolby, Widescreen, pal
              language: english
              Rating: 15
              Run time: aprox 100 minutes
              Special features
              Commentary by: Filmmaker Dolby Digital 2.0
              Visual effects reel
              Interactive bonus menus

              My summary

              Not particularly scary, never really gets of the ground and certainly not one to look forward to. More of a pass the time movie than a sit down to enjoy movie and certainly not one I would be in a hurry to recommend. 4/10

              Thanks for reading!

              © 2008 lynseyb

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                20.04.2007 13:17
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                an easy to watch movie that has its good bits but fails as a horror movie for me!

                released on dvd in september 2006 this watchable but by no means brilliant movie left me wishing the acting and execution of the movie had lived up to the idea.

                after the brutal death of a friend, a group find themselves in possesion of a video game called stay alive, a blood curdling true story of a 17th century noblewoman known as the blood countess.
                however after playing the game when they know they shouldnt the friends realise that once they are dead in the game they are dead for real.
                as their numbers begin dropping and as they begin to face death in exactly the same way they died in the game, the remaining friends realise they must defeat the blood countess or accept their fates.
                upstep the computer nerd in the bunch to try to figure out a way to defeat the game that wont let you stop playing once youve started.

                run timeaprox 100 mins although you may wish it was less.

                cast.

                Jon Foster ... Hutch

                Samaire Armstrong ... Abigail

                Frankie Muniz ... Swink

                Jimmi Simpson ... Phineas
                Wendell Pierce ... Detective Thibodeaux

                Milo Ventimiglia ... Loomis Crowley

                Sophia Bush ... October

                Adam Goldberg ... Miller Banks

                Billy Slaughter ... Rex

                Nicole Oppermann ... Sarah

                April Wood ... Loretta
                Monica Monica ... Mrs. Crowley
                Rio Hackford ... Detective King
                Billy Louviere ... Fidget

                J. Richey Nash ... Young Rookie (as Richey

                a cast of relatively unknown actors give relatively forgetable performances. although if you are a sc fi junkie or if you just like the whole video game thing then you might just find enjoyment from this movie. i sat down to watch it a s a horror movie and as that its a let down!

                the version of this i own is the directors cut in widescreen for the uk market.

                Format: Color, Dolby, Widescreen, pal
                language: english
                Rating: 15
                Run time: 160 mins

                DVD Features:
                Available Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
                Available Audio Tracks: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
                Commentary by: FilmmakerDolby Digital 2.0
                Visual effects reel
                Interactive bonus menus

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                  02.03.2007 16:52
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                  Mildly entertaining horror action that could have been so much more

                  When teenaged Hutch’s best friend is found dead from hanging, everyone assumes it to be a tragic suicide. Amongst his friend’s belongings, Hutch finds a plain-covered PC game, marked only by the film’s title – Stay Alive. Intrigued by the game and its contents, Hutch reluctantly assembles a group of gaming friends to settle down and see exactly what Stay Alive entails. The premise seems fairly simple. As characters within the game, Hutch and his friends must explore a decrepit plantation and complete simple tasks. The most important thing to remember is that to unlock the game’s secrets they must stay alive.

                  If only it were that simple. Compelled to play the game, they are equally excited and unnerved to find that the computer represents them in an almost lifelike fashion. The graphics and game play are stunning, but the game is full of death traps and malevolent characters and it isn’t long before it is “GAME OVER” for one of their number. Locking down his work station and leaving the office for the night, their disgruntled friend cannot shake the feeling that he isn’t alone. And he isn’t. Something is stalking him. It seems that it isn’t just in the game where Hutch and his friends are going to struggle to stay alive….

                  Stay Alive is a fantastic film masquerading as a mediocre one. In spite of the lacklustre presentation and limited direction, the film is peppered with a scattering of excellent ideas and you can’t help thinking that it could have been so much better. In a genre were horror film adaptations of classic video games normally fall on their feet, the idea of combining a film and a game could be revolutionary. And it still could, because Stay Alive fails to achieve any of this potential.

                  At times, the film is exciting and fresh. The opening scenes, set within the game as Hutch’s best friend explores for the first time are eerie and atmospheric. The combination of real action and graphics works well and you immediately feel as though you have stumbled across something rather cool. Throughout the film, it is the combinations of game play and live action that entertain the most. The friends’ initial exploration of the game’s setting is excellent with the audience sharing the combined sense of trepidation and excitement felt by Hutch’s buddies. Further on, as the friends start to come to terms with what’s going on, they play the game at its own game (so to speak) and use the virtual reality concept to their own advantage. I really liked the idea. The suggestion that the game was possessed in some way (more on that later) is something you’d expect to find in a Japanese horror film but the idea worked well for me and I thought Stay Alive was going to be really good.

                  Sadly, it wasn’t. The film fails in a number of areas. Firstly, the plot is full of holes and unexplained phenomena which quickly start to irritate anyone with half a brain. The back story involves (yet another) urban legend, about some school mistress who tortured her children, always threatened to return and now seems to have done so via the computer game. As a character, she’s completely one-dimensional. She’s there simply to provide a malevolent bad figure to appear in both the game and real life and potentially scare the crap out of everyone. The reason she fails to do this is that she is hastily and superficially put together. You never really understand why she tortured those children. Was she, herself, possessed or was she plain nasty? Furthermore, you never really understand how she came to possess (or inhabit) the game. Some pointers are provided later on in the film, but they’re entirely down to suggestion and never really developed.

                  The abilities of both game and player seem to change throughout the film according to the director’s whim. The original premise (die in the game and you die in real life) is relatively sound, but for those audience members who might suggest that the cast simply stops playing the game, things change a bit to outwit them. Even when they apparently aren’t or haven’t been playing the game, it still manages to get them, and after a while it starts to undermine the malevolence of the whole thing. Yes, we want them to be in danger, but no, we don’t want them to be hopelessly outwitted by a bad thing that seems able to outmanoeuvre them at every turn.

                  Furthermore, once they DO work out what they need to do to save themselves, the action shifts to a real-life location of the game’s setting, which doesn’t work at all. For starters, the sinister structure and its contents are apparently located in a suburban part of New Orleans and you can’t help thinking that somebody might have noticed them before then. The creators then really start to make things up as they go along, with the surviving teenagers somehow manipulating the game play to their own ends. In theory, there’s nothing wrong with this. In practice, it all gets a bit silly.

                  Not surprisingly for an American teenage horror story, the characterisation leaves more than a little to be surprised. The characters are choked with back stories (mothers lost in house fires, family deaths, forged identities), few of which add any real value to the story. Hutch’s romantic lead, Abigail, is pretty but makes no sense at all and considering the fact that he picks her up at his best mate’s funeral, she gets thrown into things far too quickly. Hutch himself (Jon Foster) is predictably one-dimensional and not strong enough to lead the proceedings. His friends are a more interesting bunch with Frankie Muniz from Malcolm in the Middle putting in a good turn as Hutch’s quirky friend Swink and Jimmi Simpson’s smart-mouthed Phineas exploring both ends of the eccentric scale. In reality, the film would have benefited greatly by switching the lead to one of these two guys, but I’m guessing they don’t have eye-candy factor that the director was looking for in Jon Foster.

                  As a horror film, Stay Alive is a little too tame for my liking, Most of the grisly deaths take place off-screen and given the film’s nasty back story, the look and feel would have benefited greatly from a harder, edgier approach. The deaths are far from innovative either and as the running time progresses, things start to feel rather stale. Caught somewhere between the teen-appeal of a 12a certificate and the adult gorno tab of an 18, Stay Alive awkwardly ends up with the No-Man’s Land of a 15 certificate. Nonetheless, the effects and visuals are competent enough, particularly those set in the actual game, which seem more atmospheric than the live action.

                  In the right hands, this concept could be superb. Stay Alive isn’t sort on potentially entertaining ideas but suffers greatly from a certification identity crisis. Although entertaining enough, most viewers will be unsatisfied with the finished product and will now wait for a more superior, nastier version to be made.

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                • Product Details

                  When Hutch's best friend Loomis is a victim in a violent massacre, Hutch ends up with the game he was playing just before he died. Called 'Stay Alive', the game is technically illegal and Hutch and his friends can't resist booting it up. The game resurrects Countess Bathory, who centuries ago was walled up in her tower when her crimes were discovered (she is said to have brutally murdered 650 servant girls and bathed in their blood). Now, she is fulfilling her vow to return to reassume her reign of terror. This time, however, her victims are gamers who will die in the same way in life as they do in the game.