Release: November 16, 2018
Director: Daniel Goldhaber
Writer: Isa Mazzei
Starring: Madeline Brewer as Alice Ackerman/Lola_Lola, Patch Darragh as Tinker, Imani Hakim as Hannah Darin/Baby, and Melora Walters and Lynne Ackerman
Running Time: 94 minutes
-Caution: Reviews Contain Spoilers-
-Disclaimer: Before anyone jumps on me or my superior here, I have no problem with cam girls. I wholly support what you do. Thirsty morons who don’t know how to hold on to their money should be separated from it. I’m just taking the piss out of a bad horror flick.
Alice Ackerman is a young i-slag who spends her nights debasing herself on the internet to separate thirsty beta males and lonely middle aged men from their money. She owns her own home and furnishes it with moderately expensive things. All in all, she does fairly well. However, one thing still eludes her: the ranking as top e-thot on her particular cam site. After a particularly successful masturbation stream puts Alice over the top, she awakens the next morning to find that her profile has been compromised. She’s completely locked out, gets the run around from customer service, and, horror of horrors, she finds that someone is actively insta-hoing under her name. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the damn snap-skank looks exactly like her. As the film wares on and Alice gets deeper and deeper into her very serious, but also incredibly relaxed for some reason, investigation, she runs into one of her fans in public, a wormy, creepy fellow who calls himself “Tinker.” In an eleventh hour plot contrivance intended to wrap up a film that no one knew how to end, “Tinker” informs Alice that she is being duplicated by some type of entity that lives in the internet. Alice races home, sets up a new account on the cam site and bates her impostor into a self harm competition of sorts, the winner of which gets whatever they want from the other party. Upon besting her incorporeal doppelganger in the competition, Alice asks for her cam account password, and then shuts down her old account.
If my summary seems unserious, that is because I took it about as seriously as the filmmakers took this production. Cam is yet another entry in the Blumhouse horror canon. It is also yet another in their growing list of recent missteps. What we have here is a horror film with no tension. At no point in the film is Alice ever really in any danger from the film’s antagonist. There are no real stakes for Alice. Say she didn’t stop this entity, what happens? She carries on living her life, while this thing cams twenty four hours a day and rakes in money for her from desperate fools? Call me crazy, but I would think most cam girls who do it as a profession would quite enjoy that situation. Someone else does the work, they reap the benefits. Who wouldn’t be down for that? It’s the hipster socialism so many of them love in action. The way the paranormal twist is just sort of shat out onto the screen at the last minute portrays a movie with a script that wasn’t quite ready for prime time. It feels like something that was hastily taken from script to screen in an effort to capitalize on the ongoing drama surrounding cam girls and other online “sex workers.”
Cam is yet another modern attempt at “socially conscious horror.” This is a film that is supposed to be making a serious point about the plight of cam girls, whatever that may be, but fails at every turn. Whatever point the writer was trying to make is lost under mire of shrill acting, bland direction, and insufferable characterizations. For all of her attempts at scoring points in the modern game of “oppression olympics” and ascending to the pinnacle of the progressive stacks, one can’t help but feel that writer Isa Mazzei would have been better served in this regard by sticking to her original plan to make a documentary. Horror, clearly, is not her forte. The same can be said for director Daniel Goldhaber. Yet another blemish for Blumhouse. Skip it.