Previewing this weekend and going on nationwide release on 20th December, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle reunites us with cinema's most infamous board game.
This time, however, it’s been upgraded to a video game, into which a group of teen misfits are transported. Once within the deadly world of Jumanji our characters are represented by their chosen avatars, played by Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, and Karen Gillan. Can they make it out alive?
Being transported into a video game sounds great, right? If we learned anything from the 1995 original (which starred Robin Williams), however, it’s that Jumanji’s something we’re in no hurry to play.
Given how dangerous its original incarnation was, just imagine how much more perilous the digital version will be. We’re just glad it’s not us playing. Like Jumanji, here are five other movie games you may want to avoid...
1. Battle Royale (2000)
Our school days are full of memories of playground antics and school trips spent with our classmates. However, one Japanese high school class got to participate in the ultimate playground game we’d rather skip: Battle Royale.
Taking place within the dystopian universe of Kinji Fukasaku’s Battle Royale, this trip is literally a game of life and death as the students are forced to fight until only one remains. Moreover, this deadly game is compulsory.
Their class is selected at random by the government and if anyone tries to escape from the island they’re sent to, or if there’s more than one person alive after the time runs out, explosive collars around their necks will detonate – and you thought British Bulldog was intense.
2. Jigsaw's 'games' – the Saw franchise (2004 – 2017)
According to game scholar Jesper Juul, the definition is "a rule-based formal system with a variable and quantifiable outcome", which means the sadistic tasks set by Saw villain Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) can therefore be classified as games. But that doesn’t mean they’re fun or that you should agree to play them if he ever asks (assuming you actually have a choice, that is).
Designed to make an ironic statement about the victim’s life choices, Jigsaw’s games almost always end in at least one grisly death with each game ramping up the gore factor from the last. Frequently involving stomach-churning endurance tests of self-mutilation or cruel moral dilemmas to “win” these games, Jigsaw’s hosting techniques are the only ones meaner than Anne Robinson’s.
Whereas Jumanji at least gives its players a fighting chance against its dangers, Jigsaw does everything in his power to ensure it’ll be game over for you.
3. Ouija board – Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016)
Given they were originally intended as an innocent family board game, Ouija boards have become a staple of the horror genre and are a sure sign of trouble.
Believed to have originated from America’s obsession with Spiritualism in the 19th century, it’s no surprise that Ouija boards have been associated with the supernatural in film as early as the 1920s.
Most recently, a Ouija board terrified audiences once again in director Mike Flanagan’s Ouija: Origin of Evil. After a family who scam people with rigged seances decide it’d be a good idea to add the eponymous board into their performances, they really only have themselves to blame when an evil spirit named Marcus possesses the youngest daughter (Lulu Wilson).
The Zander family of Origin of Evil should have known the risks of using a Ouija board. Using one will inevitably lead in a possession; we’re sure it says that on the box somewhere.
4. Transcontinental death race – Death Race 2000 (1975)
With miles of open roads and scenic highways, North America is the dream location for car enthusiasts seeking the road trip of their lifetime. No doubt many would jump at the opportunity to participate in a racing event that’ll take them on the ultimate cross country adventure.
The Transcontinental Road Race (TRR) in the 1975 cult-classic Death Race 2000, however, may not be the ideal way to fulfil this dream (your biggest clue should be the word death in the title). In the dystopian future of the movie, the TRR is notorious for its gruesome violence. There’s an extremely high chance of fatality as the other competitors do whatever they can to get their overpowered cars ahead of you – being dead just means less competition for the remaining racers.
The TRR doesn’t even make for a fun sport for spectators as those unfortunate enough to be caught by the competitors will be used as target practice for bonus points – including the elderly and infants. If you’re brave enough to participate in this game, you’re going to need a lot more than just a helmet and a seatbelt.
5. Stay Alive (2006)
The titular videogame in Jumanji has obstacles programmed to eliminate our heroes, so it's clearly going to be an action-packed and terrifying ordeal for our heroes. But at least this particular videogame isn’t a horror one.
Unfortunately, however, we can’t say the same about the horrifying creation in slasher movie, Stay Alive. A cross between A Nightmare on Elm Street and Ringu, Stay Alive sees a group of friends discovering a strange survival-horror videogame of the same name in which they’re stalked by a ghostly woman through a creepy estate. The catch: if she kills you in the game, she’ll kill you in real life in exactly the same way.
As if playing horror videogames weren’t bad enough, Still Alive raises the stakes too high for our liking. This is one game we’ll never find the courage to press start on. At least there’s no murderous ghosts in Jumanji (we hope).
It might be game over for the unlucky characters who featured in the aforementioned movies, but it’s still game on for Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle when it goes on wide release on 20th December.
Andy Murray is a writer who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.