Trapped in a Game: 17 Movies Like Stay Alive

Who doesn’t love a good freaky movie that blurs the edges of fact and fiction.

Stay Alive is one of those films where every time you think you’ve figured it out, there’s another turn around the next corner. Bam, someone else dies!

If you’re looking for movies like Stay Alive that you can add to your watch list, we’ve got a few suggestions for you.

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What is Stay Alive?

Stay Alive (2006) is by far one of my favorite horror flicks, despite the fact it’s incredibly cheesy.

After the death of a friend Lummis, Hutch (Jon Foster) gathers a group of friends to play the video game he was playing right before he was murdered. Unfortunately, to survive in real life, you need to survive the game.

While the origin story is incorrect, I love that the basis for the video game’s lore is based off the Countess Elizabeth Báthory. She was a very real Hungarian noblewoman who was convicted of killing the little girls in her care, and was eventually locked in a tower as punishment. It’s a creepy story, and an even creepier basis for a film… even if the film gets it wrong.

If you’re looking for a bit of cheese for your horror movie night, I would highly recommend you check out Stay Alive.

Movies like Stay Alive

Stay Alive isn’t the only movie of its kind, there are a few other cheese horror movies. Not to mention a handful of other movies the combine video games with reality. If you’re looking for movies like Stay Alive to add to your movie list, here’s what I recommend:

1. Choose or Die (2022)

Broke college student Kayla (Iola Evans) uncovers an obscure 80s survival computer game and starts to play for the unclaimed $100,000 prize money. But it doesn’t take her long to realize she’s not really playing for the money, but for her life.

With every level, the game gets harder and more terrifying. She’s forced to use all her skills to survive and uncover the dark secrets of the game before it’s too late.

This game is only available on Netflix, and while it was really good it’s pretty gory. Almost shockingly so, which I wasn’t expecting. It has a terrible 30% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, so watch at your own risk.

But I do stand by the fact that it’s probably my top pick when it comes to movies like Stay Alive for similarity.

2. Black Mirror: Bandersnatch (2018)

Stefan (Fionn Whitehead) is programming a video game adaptation of a choose-your-own-adventure book called Bandersnatch, and quickly becomes obsessed with its author’s mysterious past.

While trying to uncover the truth, he begins to doubt what is real and what is fiction. This choose-your-own adventure movie by Netflix is a mind-bending mystery and a unique film experience.

Bandersnatch is another Netflix-only film. It was far from my favorite horror flick to come out in 2018, but the experience was truly unique.

3. Ready Player One (2018)

Based on a novel by Ernest Cline, Ready Player One is set in the year 2045. Citizens have escaped the bleak reality of the mundane world by living in a virtual one called OASIS.

When the creator of OASIS dies, he leaves behind a challenge for anyone who wants to inherit his fortune. The first person to find the Easter egg hidden inside the game will win the prize. But as protagonist Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) quickly discovers, the egg is not as easy to find as it seems.

If you’re looking for a non-horror flick that has a bit of suspense, this is the film I recommend. However, it’s not my favorite Stephen Spielberg flick to grace the silver screen.

4. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017)

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is an updated version of the 1995 film starring Robin Williams. However, unlike the original, it’s way more comedy than thrilling.

Four high school students are transported into a video game version of Jumanji. They must work together to beat the game and return to the real world.

This is hands-down one of my favorite comedy films of the last few years. Jack Black absolutely killed his performance, and he wasn’t the only one.

5. The Maze Runner (2014)

Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) wakes up in an elevator with no memories of who he is or how he got there.

He soon finds himself in The Glade, a place where boys have been living for as long as they can remember. They are surrounded by a gigantic maze that changes every day. Thomas joins forces with the other boys to try and find a way out before it’s too late.

Maze Runner is definitely more Hunger Games then Stay Alive, but it does fit the general game-like idea. And honestly, I’d be terrified if I was in that scenario.

6. The Hunt (2020)

A modern-day adaptation of Richard Connell’s short story The Most Dangerous Game, the 2020 film, The Hunt, sees a group of powerful elites capture and live hunt unwilling victim.

Unfortunately for them, one of the captives proves to be more than they can handle. It turns into an unexpected battle to the death.

There was A LOT of controversy surrounding The Hunt, which made it seem like the movie to watch, so I was pretty disappointed with the actual thing. However, if you don’t go in with all the hype, it could be an enjoyable flick.

7. The Hunger Games (2012)

In the future, North America has been replaced by Panem, a country that is divided into 12 districts. Each year, two tributes from each district are chosen by lottery to compete in The Hunger Games, a televised event where they must fight to the death.

When her sister is chosen as a tribute, Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) volunteers to take her place. She soon finds herself in a fight for her life against some of the best hunters in the country. The Hunger Games isn’t a horror, but dystopian can take a real scary edge on.

8. The Purge (2013)

There’s no video game involved in The Purge, but it is a terrifying game-focused story. In the future, America has implemented an annual event called The Purge.

For 12 hours, all crime is legal and anyone can do anything they want without consequence. When a family is targeted by a group of criminals during The Purge, they must fight for their lives to survive the night.

I wouldn’t say The Purge is the best film out there by any means, but the concept (of the first one) was pretty unique and engaging. If you haven’t seen it, I’d recommend checking it out.

9. ExistenZ (1999)

The film eXistenZ was a little before its time, telling the tale of a near-future world in where virtual reality games are so realistic that they can be indistinguishable from reality.

When video game designer Allegra Geller (Jennifer Jason Leigh) is targeted by assassins she has to go on the run with a body guard (Jude Law). In an attempt to protect the game, she implants a video game pod into his body.

This film is a wild ride, it made $70-million in the box office and has a 74% score on Rotten Tomatoes, so it’s definitely worth the watch.

10. The Ring (2002)

Based on the 1998 Japanese film Ringu (Ring) by Hideo Nakata, The Ring tells the creepy story about a cursed video tape that kills anyone that watches it 7 days after they watched it.

When reporter Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts) investigates the death of her niece, she comes across the tape and realizes she has to find out how to stop it before it’s too late.

This fill is absolutely full of cheese and had a tiny 48-million box office run, but it has a 71% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s very classic horror.

11. The Matrix (1999)

The Matrix is an action film, not a horror, but it is a classic is it real or is it fiction storyline. In the future, humans have been enslaved by a race of intelligent machines. But when a resistance fighter (Keanu Reeves) is chosen to save humanity, he must first learn to believe in himself before he can lead the rebellion against the machines.

If you’ve never seen the Matrix, be warned that it’s quite violent and long. However, it’s the performance Keanu Reeves is known for, it has an 88% on Rotten Tomatoes, and it ranked a whopping 467.2 million in the box office.

12. The Game (1997)

The Game follows Nicholas (Michael Douglas), an investment banker, that is given a mysterious gift by his estranged brother, Conrad (Sean Penn).

The gift? Participation in a game that will “change his life.” But as Nicholas soon discovers, the game is not what it seems and he may not be able to escape it alive.

This film didn’t receive the best box office welcome, coming in at $109.4-million, but it has a 78% score on Rotten Tomatoes. It was also well-received by critics.

13. House on Haunted Hill (1999)

The House on Haunted Hill is a remake of the 1959 film of the same name. It tells the story about a group of strangers that are invited to a haunted former asylum to play a “game.”

Each of the people invited will win $1-million if they survive the night. But it’s not all fun and games, the house takes over and decided to run the nightmare party itself.

While the film only made $43-million in the box office and has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 31%, I actually love it. It stars Geoffrey Rush and Famke Janssen, two of my favorites.

14. Mazes and Monsters (1982)

This early Tom Hanks movie (yes, Woody from Toy Story) is more dungeons and dragons than video games (it was made in the ’80s) but it still has a similar premise.

Mazes and Monsters follows the story of 4 college students who become emersed in a fantasy role-playing game they get a little too into. This was a made-for-TV movie, so it only has a PG rating. Also, keep in mind it was made in the 1980s so it kinda sucks.

This film was actually Hanks’ first leading role, so even though the ’80s cheese factor is high, it’s worth a watch. He was also in one other horror-ish film, a dark comedy called The Burbs, if you want to take a walk down memory lane.

15. Serenity (2019)

Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway star in Serenity, and I’ll warn you, it’s not their best look. This film follows Baker Dill (McConaughey) fishing boat captain who’s strangely approached by his ex-wife (Hathaway) to kill her new husband.

I can’t tell you about the “spin” without giving too much away, but it’s a wild ride that’s almost not worth writing home about. It’s not my favorite film, but if you want something that’s confusing, strange, and sticks with a similar premise, this is the film.

16. Free Guy (2021)

Who doesn’t love a good Ryan Reynold’s film? Admittedly, Free Guy isn’t his best, but it was OK. When Guy (Reynolds) realizes he’s a background player in a video game, he decides to take matters into his own hands and become a hero.

It’s a comedy flick that’s well worth the watch if you haven’t seen it. It’s a bit Truman Show, but with the main character’s overall realization that he’s in the game. I know a lot of people didn’t love it, but I genuinely enjoyed the film.

17 Brainscan (1994)

Brainscan is a slasher flicks, so before you hit play you’ll want to make sure you’re good with the gore.

This film is pretty in-line with Choose or Die, featuring a character that doesn’t yet know he’s in a violent video game until he suddenly realizes he is. It’s a great film for horror fans, as it’s pretty gory and features some iconic kills.

If you’re looking for something a bit different in the slasher genre, this is the film for you.

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