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

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

The 2012 Canadian comedy Goon was one of those surprising little films that snuck up...

Detroit Movie Review

Detroit Movie Review

After The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal reteam to...

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Good news: Steven Soderbergh's well-publicised retirement from directing only lasted about four years. He's back...

American Made Movie Review

American Made Movie Review

An enjoyably freewheeling tone and Tom Cruise's star wattage combine to make this an entertaining...

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

It's been a decade since Al Gore's wake-up-call documentary won the Oscar. And here he...

Advertisement
The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

It really doesn't matter that this movie is utterly ridiculous, because the central pairing of...

Final Portrait Movie Review

Final Portrait Movie Review

A relaxed, amusing true story about noted Swiss painter and sculptor Alberto Giacometti, this sharply...

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Finnish artist Tuoko Laaksonen used the name "Tom of Finland" as he drew explicit illustrations...

A Ghost Story Movie Review

A Ghost Story Movie Review

Filmmaker David Lowery reunites the stars from his offbeat Western Ain't Them Bodies Saints for...

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

From the co-director of John Wick, this similarly styled action romp puts Charlize Theron front...

Girls Trip Movie Review

Girls Trip Movie Review

This movie's premise basically sounds like The Hangover with added black girl power. But it's...

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

There's so much manic energy in this animated action comedy that it can't help but...

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.