We need more directors willing to take risks with films like Get Out.
Sometimes the most astonishing thing about a movie is hidden right in plain sight. "Series 7: The Contenders" is a satire on reality TV, taking the world of "Survivor" and "Temptation Island" to its logical extension with a TV show where the contestants kill one another. This is not a new idea; the movie is similar to "The Tenth Victim" (1965) and has also been compared to "Death Race 2000," "Running Man," "EDtv" and "The Truman Show" in the way it uses actual lives as TV fodder. The classic short story "The Most Dangerous Game" is also lurking somewhere in its history.
No, it's not the idea that people will kill each other for entertainment that makes "Series 7" jolting. What the movie correctly perceives is that somewhere along the line we've lost all sense of shame in our society. It's not what people will do, but what they'll say--what they eagerly reveal about themselves--that "Series 7" assimilates without even being aware of it. The killing part is the satire, and we expect that to be exaggerated. The dialogue, I suspect, is not intended as satirical at all, but simply reflects the way people think these days. There are still many Americans who choose not to reveal every detail of their private lives the moment a camera is pointed at them, but they don't get on TV much.
Allow me a digression. I was watching "The Jerry Springer Show" the other day, as I often do when I want to investigate the limits of the permissible, and there was a "guest" who was complaining that his girlfriend would not respect his fetish. He likes to vomit during sex. He even had the word for his specialty, but I've forgotten it; "nauseaphilia," no doubt. It was amazing that this guy would reveal his secret on television, but even more astonishing that the girlfriend would also appear, in order to testify how disgusting it was. Anyone so desperate for fame that they will put themselves in a position like that should think, deeply and urgently, about the positive aspects of anonymity.
But what do people say when they meet Springer guests? (1) "Ugh! That was disgusting! You are depraved!" or (2) "I saw you on Springer. How do you get on that show?" I suspect the answer is (2).