Directed by: Christopher James Cramer
Written by: Christopher James Cramer
Genre: Drama / Horror
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I can only imagine the horror of being taken and held captive. Having the world not be any wiser is even scarier. Nobody is looking, watching or seems to care. The nagging thoughts that your family and closest friends must be completely stupid, to think you're actually "away" somewhere, and having the time of your life. That would be just as horrific as the captivity itself. Maybe that's a ridiculous notion but I'm sure it would cross a persons mind. It would cross mine.
The material contained within "Stay" is not terribly original yet strangely compelling. An abductor doing everything in his power to keep his captive compliant, as he tries to make her love him. In this case, his control mechanism is a shock collar. After multiple escape attempts from Claire, portrayed nicely by Devin Brooke, her captor decides to offer release after one month of peace. No more escape attempts, and complete compliance. With the way things had been going, this sounded like a fair deal; if he kept his end of the bargain. Claire would earn the freedom she has fought for. Claire you see, is not your typical hostage. She happens to be a strong minded woman, who would even go as far as suicide to escape her captor William. William, also played excellently by Zach Kanner, takes the bait and attempts to elicit feelings of love from Claire. One month to force his captive to actually gain true feelings for him.
Maybe a little strange sounding, but this is a good story, a natural, and it grabs you. There is really no way to screw it up, especially with such an on-point cast. "Because" it's a good story, there also happens to be no way to bring it above a certain level. Many competent directors could have done what Christopher James Cramer has done, all things considered. Just because Cramer also happened to write this story doesn't really add any special "umph" to the movie. None that I could see. I've seen this before with well written scripts and sometimes, when the writer and director are one and the same, it pays to get that outside directorial style simply to add that different "something" or spice. With that written, "Stay" really is a good film, I just can't help but wonder what an outside hand may have offered.
Aside from being an interesting experience, what "Stay" doesn't accomplish is to challenge it's viewers. To ignite their imagination. Essentially it plays out just like you think, aside from maybe the ending. You pretty much "know" what is going to happen long before it does. I'm not talking about the ending itself, rather the steps along the way. We "know" Claire is going to try and escape. We "know" eventually she'll give in and play the part, if only to increase her odds of survival. A little more originality would have been great, and we did get some in the final act. A ballsy dinner party that I'll admit, I didn't see coming. Everything else before though, that was totally expected although done quite nicely. I mentioned the acting from the cast before and I'll do it again. Impressive. Especially for a low budget film. I appreciated that our leading lady was such a mentally strong character, and I was actually taken back a step during a scene involving bleach. I kept wondering how such a strong woman, personality-wise, could give up like that? This was addressed a short time later, in the form of a conversation. The damage was done though, that one scene changed my thoughts on the character. Other than that, "Stay" felt a hair lengthy, but only a hair. Production levels felt much higher than I expect they were, and for a film that essentially takes place in one location, holding my attention for an hour and a half is one hell of an accomplishment.
Finally I would like to express my appreciation for the dark humor contained within the ending. I was wondering, through-out the film how the final scene would play out. I have to admit I thought it was the perfect way to end things. Looking back I can't help but wonder if any other scenario would have worked quite as well. I don't think so. For me, "Stay" was a unique enough version of an old story to keep me hooked. Maybe not one hundred percent perfect, but a damn fine production all around. We'll update our links as soon as we get them, keeping you readers up to date with any online links we receive. This is one to follow. Thumbs up.