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Thu. May 28th, 2020

Retro Review: ‘Series 7: The Contenders’ (2001)

Reality meets satire in this completely insane and hysterical movie about the depths we will sink to and call it entertainment.

The title refers to the seventh season of a mock reality series, The Contenders, in which regular citizens are chosen by random lottery, handed a gun and a cameraman and told to kill the other contestants. This is not a choice but an order.

Our reigning champion Dawn (Brooke Smith, Silence of the Lambs) is eight months pregnant and returns to her hometown of Newbury, Connecticut (“Everything looks like it’s been dipped in plastic”), the site of the game, with an axe to grind. She turns a visit with her estranged family into armed robbery and grand theft auto.

The combination COPS/Survivor approach puts you right in the action and allows for some great humor (“I don’t do car chases, I think they’re tacky and innocent people can get hurt”) and irony as Dawn searches through a house with a gun and a flashlight a la Clarice Starling.

A bleak dead-end at our potential cultural void, it’s nevertheless a scary and hilarious film.

Movie matches: The Running Man, Death Race 2000, Rollerball

Check out the trailer below and you’ll spot the likes of Merritt Wever (Nurse Jackie, Unbelievable) and Marylouise Burke (Ozark).

How to watch: Available for purchase on Amazon

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