Series 7

"Zero"

Series 7 Review


Satire has never been as ugly and unpleasant as it is in "Series 7," an extreme "what-if" spoof of reality TV that oversteps its intentions by making its plot, its atmosphere and its characters all so abhorrent and grating I walked out of the press screening after 20 minutes. And I had to really force myself to stay that long.

The movie isn't really a movie at all -- it's just shaky, "Cops"-style video footage from "The Contenders," a fictitious "reality show" in which common Americans are picked by lottery to try to assassinate each other.

The show's reigning champion (10 kills in two "tours") is Dawn (Brook Smith), a hard-bitten loser with a million axes to grind from her screwed-up upbringing. She's nine months pregnant and willing to do whatever it takes to make it through a third tour and thus free herself and her baby from the grip of the show.

Other contestants -- each more abrasive than the last -- include a teenage virgin (Merritt Weaver) with pushy parents, a dying cancer victim (Glenn Fitzgerald), an aging Bible-beater ER nurse (Marylouise Burke), a laid-off blue collar cokehead (Michael Kaycheck), and an elderly conspiracy nut (Richard Venture). They'll all armed to the teeth by the program -- whether they like it or not -- and ordered to take each other down while camera crews follow their every movement and record their incessant "Springer"-esque yammering about their terrible lives.

Writer-director Daniel Minahan presents the story only within the framework of the "Contenders" TV show, he provides no external context, no cultural perspective. As a result "Series 7" comes off just as pathetic and low as actual reality TV, but lacquered with a smug sense of judgmental parody.

With the exception of highly stressed "normal" people trying to kill each other on camera, the world of "Series 7" seems no different than the world we live in now. There's no sense of tweaked reality, like a "Twilight Zone" episode. There's no sense that this is a possible near future, like "RoboCop" (an equally violent and infinitely more deft social satire).

So, how did the society reach the point where real-life violent deaths are entertainment? Why don't the unwilling contestants shoot the show's staff and try to get away? What about lawsuits by the victims' families? Do people boycott the show or protest? If so, where, when and how? If not, why not?

Minahan is so focused on his gimmicky irony he fails to realize that without such context "Series 7" is every bit as tasteless, pointless, irritating and absurd as that which he mocks.

But it wasn't just the despicable nature of the film that sent me fleeing after less than two reels. The fact is, that on top of its other innumerable shortcomings, "Series 7" is just downright boring.



Facts and Figures

Run time: 86 mins

In Theaters: Friday 25th May 2001

Distributed by: USA Films

Production compaines: October Films, Open City Films, Killer Films, Blow Up Pictures

Reviews

Rotten Tomatoes: 70%
Fresh: 56 Rotten: 24

IMDB: 6.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Dawn, Mark Woodbury as Dairy Mart Clerk, as Tony, as Connie, as Franklin, as Sheila, as Lindsay, as Jeff, as Doria, as Dawn's Cameraman, Nada Despotovich as Michelle, Stephen Michael Rinaldi as Craig, Alex Yershov as Nathan, as Bob, Joseph Barrett as Doctor, Shawna Moore as Nurse, as Laura, Tanny McDonald as Dawn's Mother, Caitlin Bateman as Colby, James Lecesne as Priest, Robin Borden as Doria Look-alike I, Lauren Ward as Doria Look-alike II, Aydin Bengisu as Jeff Look-alike I, Josh Mosby as Jeff Look-alike II, Babo Harrison as Dawn Look-alike, as Narrator (voice), Adena Shea Loomis as Ultra Sound Baby, Pamela Wehner as Lottery Spokes Model, as Dispatch Operator (as John Ventimiglia), Kirsten Krohn as Female Promo Voice (voice), William Graves as Male Promo Voice (voice)

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Colossal Movie Review

Colossal Movie Review

It's rare to find a movie that so defiantly refuses to be put into a...

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

It's unlikely that Guy Ritchie could make a boring movie if he wanted to. This...

Snatched Movie Review

Snatched Movie Review

It doesn't really matter that the script for this lively action-comedy is paper thin: teaming...

Jawbone Movie Review

Jawbone Movie Review

Boxing movies aren't usually this thoughtful. Sure, there are plenty of punchy moments in the...

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Scottish filmmaker Gillies MacKinnon (Hideous Kinky) remakes the 1949 Ealing comedy classic, although it's difficult...

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Master filmmaker Ridley Scott is back to continue the story 10 years after the events...

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

A fictionalised account of real events, this drama is reminiscent of Peter Morgan's work in...

Advertisement
Sleepless Movie Review

Sleepless Movie Review

In remaking the 2011 French thriller Sleepless Night, the filmmakers have dumbed down both the...

Unlocked Movie Review

Unlocked Movie Review

By injecting a steady sense of fun, this slick but mindless action thriller both holds...

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

A seriously impressive feature directing debut with a star-making central performance, this period British drama...

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

It was never going to be easy to match the impact of 2014's Guardians of...

The Promise Movie Review

The Promise Movie Review

The director of Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, turns to another humanitarian horror: the systematic murder...

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.