Can someone clear up why “Stay” was touted as a horror film, or a supernatural thriller? For the life of me, I’m still attempting to figure out why it was touted as a supernatural thriller, or even a supernatural horror film. You figure a film starring many rather esteemed actors would do its best to stray from its genre pigeon hole, but alas, I’m left perplexed at the utterly disappointing results of “Stay.” It’s not horror. When you’re finished with it, you’ll see that it’s clearly a Supernatural drama, and a pretty lackluster one to boot. I remember this film. It’s “Jacob’s Ladder,” no wait, it’s that crime drama with Courtney Cox who went all “indie,” that must be it. No, “Stay” is really just a sappy melodrama touted in a supernatural angle, and that’s a damn shame.
There are no monsters, demons, ghosts, ghouls, murders, and barely any blood. Hell, you’d be hard pressed to find atmosphere. What you will find, however, is Ewan McGregor running around a city for over an hour asking about Gosling’s character. And that’s no fun. McGregor, who once again shows he’s hit or miss in his career, gives a truly wooden performance with a rather bit of inadvertent irrelevance thrown in at the climax, while Naomi Watts, who shares the billing, really does nothing, and contributes nothing here but appear sporadically to bounce dialogue off of McGregor’s character in soft whispers and look damn good doing it. Then, when the climax finally rolls around, I was left wondering “Why wasn’t this about Henry?” Which also helps you to realize Gosling is sadly under-credited. And that climax? Surprising? No. Original? No.
I mean, it was obvious what would happen. The same climax was used in “Campfire Tales,” and quite similarly in “November,” which happened to come in theaters almost the same year, with the same quasi-Lynchian time drifting storyline that I just could not sit through. If anyone has ever seen “November” then it’s the basic hook “Stay” goes for. It’s not surprising neither film was that good to begin with. What elements in “Stay,” a waste of talent, and debatably a waste of time, possessed people to deem it as a supernatural thriller, or sub-horror? Nothing except denial, and crafty marketing. Great direction makes “Stay” a visual marvel, along with a great performance from Gosling, but beyond that, a brutally dull premise, matched with a cheesy climax sully the potential with wooden utterly irrelevant performances from McGregor and Watt who are both equally wasted. It’s a big sloppy bust.