Warning: Graphic content below — Suicide Trigger Warning
A new movie featuring Josh Duhamel, James Franco, and Sarah Wayne Callies is coming to once again test just how fascinated audiences are with dramatic and violent deaths. And this is quite literally the premise of the movie.
Watch the trailer HERE
The movie, called The Show (which, from a marketing standpoint, is a very confusing title), is about a reality television host who, after a contestant dies on his show & their ratings go through the roof, is asked to host a new show — one in which contestants kill themselves on live TV.
The trailer poses a few interesting concepts; First of all, the idea to start this new suicide show comes after some heartless corporate TV network heads realize that the death of a contestant on one of their shows didn’t actually result in legal consequences. This prompts them to create a show where people can kill themselves “for a good reason,” as Josh Duhamel’s character explains. The trailer implies that there is a sort of cash prize that goes to the victim’s family (or…somebody) every time a person commits suicide.
Then of course the deaths are done in front of a live studio audience, and apparently audiences are quickly bored with conventional ways of committing suicide, and The Show is forced to make people die in increasingly gruesome ways.
If this reminds you of The Hunger Games, you’d be interested to know that it’s made by the same entertainment company, Lionsgate. James Franco’s character is a regular Cesar Flickerman.
Finally, like Hunger Games, the overarching theme seems to be that we as a society are becoming so accustomed to violence in media that we are actually demanding it, and this film should act as a warning of the danger of mass desensitization. Of course, that’s a really hard message to take seriously when it’s being pitched by an entertainment company whose number one goal is to sell tickets. They want people to watch this film about people killing themselves on television. It’s terribly hypocritical and I don’t buy it for a second. People aren’t going to see this film because they want to explore the psychological effects of violence on media — it’s because they want to see some wild and graphic deaths, which the movie is happy to provide.
The Show is also sure to face a ton of backlash, especially after the popularity and then criticism of the Netflix series Thirteen Reasons Why, which tells the story of a teen who committed suicide through her postmortem tape recordings. Professionals have stated again and again that displaying suicide through media in such a indulgent fashion is not only insensitive, but also encouraging to those who may be contemplating suicide. And unlike Thirteen Reasons Why, The Show has no interest in raising suicide awareness. It’s using the exact violence to draw in viewers that they seem to be preaching against in the film.
I don’t think this movie will be great. I have a strong feeling that it’s going to be riddled with plot holes & inconsistencies, and the script will be pretty weak. BUT… I’m in the exact morbidly curious base the film is pandering to, so ya, I’ll probably see it. Maybe it will surprise me and turn out to be really insightful about this topic, which has been beaten to death by film companies (and cheered on by their live studio audience).
Tell Us: Will you watch The Show? Do you think a film with this topic is insightful and educational, or harmful and insensitive?