Watched March 31, 2013
Starring: Megan Ward, John de Lancie, Peter Billingsley, Seth Green, and A.J. Langer
Since we've watched several super stinkers in a row, we were looking forward to something a little better. This is a Full Moon release, which if you seen other movies by them you'll know they produce straight to video horror and fantasy movies. I enjoyed this movie because I like other things that all the people have been in. It stars Q from Star Trek: Next Gen, Rayanne from My So-Called Life, the crush from Encino Man, the kid from A Christmas Story and Willow's werewolf boyfriend, what more could you ask for.
Alex (Megan Ward) is a teen girl dealing with the recent suicide of her mother, with no help from her dad who is drowning his sorrow in cookies. She does have a great support system of her boyfriend Greg (Bryan Dattilo) and friends, Nick (Peter Billingsley), Stilts (Seth Green) and Laurie (A.J. Langer). After school they head to Dante's Inferno, a local arcade. Difford (John de Lancie) is there, a representative of a video game company who is trying to get the kids to test out a new game called Arcade. The game is a virtual reality game which fully immerses you in the digital world. It's some terrible early 3D that is mostly very low vector shapes. I guess it was cutting edge at the time. Nick is the first to play because he's a real pro gamer. The first level makes you skateboard through a dungeon maze of spikes, but then a "screamer" gets him and he hits the escape button to quit the game. Greg goes next, but while he's playing everyone leaves the room and then the game sucks him in because he loses. The game is collecting souls! Everyone at the arcade is given a home version of the game to try out. Alex is concerned because she doesn't know where Greg has gone but she just takes his car and drives herself home.
At home Alex tries out the game and quickly realizes it's more than just a video game. She tries to shut it off but can't. She still hasn't heard from Greg, but sees him trapped in the game. She goes to Nick's house to try to convince him that the game is evil. They decide that they have to go to the game company to tell them what's happening. Nick thinks that the story of the game sucking someone in sounds crazy so instead of telling Difford that story, he says they just really love the game and want to learn some tricks from the designer. The designer gives them a map of the game, and explains that they used brain cells from a dead kid to create the core of the game. The designer is even scared of what he created and doesn't have a way to shut it down. Alex and Nick go to find Stilts and Laurie but they've both been sucked into the game. They go back to Dante's Inferno to go into the game to save their friends. Nick, the supposed pro gamer is taken out almost immediately when he's distracted by a floating, rainbow colored gyroscope. It's up to our non-gamer Alex to keep going and save everyone. She finds Greg is a pool of strawberry lava blood but can't save him. The game is represented by a terrible boxy face that looks like a bad transformer head and it taunts her as she moved through the levels. Alex makes it through all the levels but it electrocuted as she confronts the game. Luckily she picked up an extra life by saving a little boy on the river styx level. The little boy turns out to the be the soul and braincells of the game. Alex comes back into the game and throw her extra life mechanical heart at the game and destroys it. All the friends are saved and they all high five at the end, well not really, but it ends like they would.
Not a great movie by any means, but it takes you back to time when it was thought that virtual reality was going to be a big deal and the future of video games. If anything I liked it because it reminded me of being in the early '90's. Not a horror movie, I think it only got an R rating because they let the kids throw out some F-bombs.
The best thing about Full Moon movies is that they always include a mini video about the making of the movie called Videozone. All the teen actors looked like the were having the best time on the set of this movie. They also showed the original character designs for a lot of the game and they were so much better than what ended up onscreen. The embodied game was a cool skull not just a boxy head dude, but for some reason they had to change it.