Wednesday, January 07, 2009

TV premiering tonight: 13 - Fear Is Real

It's a shame that Sam Raimi has stooped so low as to executive-produce this crap; sure, he's put his name on plenty of schlock before, but at least low-budget horror movies and cheesy fantasy series have a certain entertainment value. Shitty reality shows are pretty much the lowest form of pop-culture product, and this is a particularly egregious example. It throws the superficial trappings of a horror movie over your standard elimination-challenges-and-backstabbing format, ripping off pretty much wholesale a number of ideas from the Saw movies without attribution. Like on Sci Fi's Estate of Panic, many of the "scary" challenges amount to something close to torture (in the first episode, contestants are placed in coffins and buried underground), although the contestants are all such whiny morons that it's tough to feel sorry for them.

The saddest thing is that they either believe they are in some sort of actual danger, or they're all acting that way to further the lame horror-movie conceit. One especially despicable contestant wails about "monsters" and is afraid of every little sound, even as a camera crew is following her every move. Another prays to Jesus during the buried-alive challenge; certainly He's intimately concerned with the fates of reality-show contestants. All of this fabricated peril simply serves to highlight how unreal reality shows generally are, making the title of this one especially ironic. Sam Raimi, do you really need money this badly? The CW, Wednesdays, 8 p.m.

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