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There's no escape, there's nowhere to hide, there is only one chance. This is the slogan for the latest Film Four funded picture, which takes reality television to a whole new dimension. We've
all seen, or at least heard of Big Brother...and if you're anything like me you'd love to do some damage to the contestants. 'General' public my arse! Luckily, with the release of Series 7: The Contenders we get a brand new spin on the formula...the contestants actually DO have to kill each other! Sounds like fun...

This is looking good already!
Movie
Brooke Smith plays Dawn, eight months pregnant and the reigning 'contender'. With 10 kills already under her belt, 5 more kills will see her win the series, and walk free. Up against her are 5 other members of the public, all of which selected randomally by a nationwide lottery. It's basically the same as a standard lottery in which you win money..except in this case you would find yourself shouting "Damn, I've got 5 bloody numbers now!"

When chosen, each 'contender' is given a pretty standard pistol to despatch their opponents, and sent on their way. Contenders are also advised to purchase extra items such as rifles and the obligatory bullet proof vest. Keeping track of this nationwide television experience are the cameramen who track every move, every drama...and..every kill.

Firstly, let me say..if you're not a fan of dark, twisted, black humour..stay well away! This film contains some genuinly disturbing moments which would probably offend anybody with any sense of decency in them ;) Luckily..I don't have a shred of decency in me, and as such enjoyed Series 7: The Contenders for the most part quite a lot! The first thing you may notice is that the cast is instantly unrecognisable...no famous stars here! Luckily enough, the acting is top notch. The film demands strong performances despite the comedy elements, and luckily the film delivers in that aspect. Particularly worthy of mention is Brooke Smith in the lead role who faces many tough decisions during the film, and copes with them
admirably as an actor. The supporting players are also great, varying from a middle aged christian nurse, to a Tony Soprano like father of 2.

"That spotty McDonalds kid will regret doing that to my burger!"
The majority of the laughs come during the various action sequences, particularly amusing is a scene where a teenage girl is
receiving advice from her parents during a fierce gun battle with another contender! The shouts of 'Come on honey, shoot the old f*cker in the head' are just completely unexpected, and what adds to the comic charm of the film. The film isn't without its flaws however. Sometimes I found myself wondering whether or not the film was trying to take itself too seriously, certain scenes seemed totally out of place, and others seemed rushed and pointless.

Overall this film was a pleasant surprise. It's by no means perfect, but some of the one liners make the film worthwhile. The film really does portray the reality TV format well..almost too well..infact it makes you wonder if one day something like this could really happen! Let's hope not!

Video
Series 7: The Contenders maintains its original aspect ratio, featuring as it does a 16:9 anamorphic transfer. The image for the most part is crisp and clear, however due to the heavy use of camcorder material the quality isn't going to be reference quality. Obviously this is no fault of the transfer itself, which is made more than apparent during the commercial breaks etc which show the true image quality of the disc. Overall a satisfactory transfer, though nothing to write home about.

Sound
Considering the TV show nature of this film, I wasn't expecting much from the Dolby 5.1 soundtrack featured on the disc. Surprisingly though the track is one of the better ones that I have heard, and gives a full workout for even the most basic of setups. Action in
the film doesn't come very regularly, but the TV style intervals really put the rear speakers to work, with the voice of the shows commentator flying around the speakers at a rate of knots!

Wots this? The Old Bitch Project??
Extras
Seeing as this is a rental release, there are no extra features on the disc.

Conclusion
Overall the film itself is well worth a watch, especially if you are a fan of reality TV, looking for a bizarre twist! The DVD features a solid transfer, and an above average soundtrack.


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