Series 7 - The Contenders

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +1 1/2

Content: -3

Although filmed before the recent spate of popular ‘reality’ game shows of TV, this movie satirizes those shows by taking the concept to an extreme. In the film, fictitious top rated reality show, "The Contenders," selects six contestants through a random lottery drawing, gives them a gun and cameraman. The literal, last survivor is the winner. But the winner goes on to the next series as defending champion. In Series 7 of the show, defending champion Dawn (Brooke Smith), 8-months pregnant, only needs to complete this last series to win her freedom from the show. But the battle ground is Dawn’s hometown with some of her toughest competitors. And one of the contestants is her high school sweetheart, Jeff (Glenn Fitzgerald). Hand-held camera motion, contestants talking to the camera, and cameo interviews interspersing action scenes capture the feel of a TV show. But the concept and characters fail to capture interest or sympathy. And although the events often border on the ridiculous, perhaps this satire looks too real for comfort.

Presented as a marathon airing of the show, segments are even interspersed with commercial breaks advertising upcoming scenes. The opening shot features a violent shooting, but few of the killings are graphic. But the suggested images often imply gruesome deaths such as a girl being beaten with a club. More disturbing is the portrayal of one contestant as strongly religious. She's seen praying the Catholic rosary, goes to confession and her home has numerous religious images. But she also rationalizes possible euthanasia in her job as a nurse, provides an injured contestant with a lethal injection and shoots another. However, she also helps Dawn through an emergency birth, but also promises to kill her later. Suicide attempts by shooting, overdosing with pills and a plastic bag on the head are also shown. Along with frequent obscenities and strong profanity, SERIES 7 features an unreal amount of objectionable material.

Preview Reviewer: Paul Bicking
USA Films, 9333 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90210

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Many (12) times - Mild 4, moderate 8

Obscene Language: Many (55) times - F-word 31, s-word 21, other 3

Profanity: Many (19) times - Regular 13 (GD 2, J 7, JC 3, C); exclamatory 6 (OMG 5, MG)

Violence: Many times - Moderate and severe (bloody body, shootings, knife threat, bloody wounds, choking, lethal injection, girl beaten with club, bloody childbirth)

Sex: Implied once (teen couple interrupted in bed)

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Few times (Reference to loosing virginity, teen couple kissing on bed)

Drugs: Few times - wine drinking, reference to drug use in high school, pills taken in suicide attempt

Other: Concept of condoned random killing, character portrayed as strongly religious rationalizes euthanasia, reference to past abortion, drawing and description of testicular surgery, man berates wounded daughter, suicide attempted several times

Running Time: 90 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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