There are some horror films that are just waiting to happen. In the case of Cam, the most terrifying fact is that there’s a lot that can happen to you online already. Specially, if you gain any sort of following and have shared any details of your life online. Add to that the fact that toxic behaviour festers online like the plague and you’re basically one step from a real life horror film.
Cam is the brainchild of screenwriter Isa Mazzei and director Daniel Goldhaber. Alice (Madeline Brewer) has created quite a presence online with the personality of Lola, an erotic camgirl on a notorious porn site. As she climbs the ladder of favourites, she’s always nice to her audience but keeps them at bay when they ask for personal details. She has managed to keep her regular life and her online life separate, but that’s all about to change. One night she notices she’s been locked out of her account and somehow she has a live show going on. Who is that person on camera if it’s not her?
The movie works on creeping you out on so many levels that it almost doesn’t need the doppelgänger. Lola’s followers are a group of socially awkward people of the toxic privileged Mr. Nice Guy variety. They all turn against Lola on a dime when a jealous performer decides to do a one-time strip to bring Lola down on the charts. Of course Lola is furious at the other girl, because she can’t really ask her fickle “friendly” followers to stick by her. Once the shows start happening on their own with a fake “Lola” on the screen, Alice’s real life is impacted as her evil twin on the screen gives out personal details without care.
And that’s the component here that will make you cringe the most. In the worst example of male toxicity, Lola is becoming extremely popular while Alice and her family get targeted by harassment in real life. Every single male fails in this movie. Even Jordan distances himself from her sister. When Alice tries to involve the police, one cop almost calls her a slut and the other just tells him to “not go on the internet”. This scene has to be taken from real life.
The movie alternates its palette between Alice’s regular life and Lola’s. Lola’s life is shown in bright, glow-in-the-dark, fluorescent colour. In Alice’s life the colour has been muted, showing things regular and plain. When Alice and Lola finally clash, they couldn’t look more different. Obviously, Alice is alone in her final confrontation. There’s no cavalry that will come to her aid. Not even her fellow cam girls will support her.
Highly recommended with one reservation. The ending as feels slightly improvised but it doesn’t take away from the film. As good as this movie is, it does leave a bad taste in your mouth because it illustrates the bad that is already out there. That’s also a good thing, you want to call out the problem when you see it. Madeline Brewer gives a terrific performance. There’s a creepy factor that will make you cringe and stays with you after the movie is over. Only one of the monsters in this film was made up. The others are already out there.
Update: Isa Mazzei won the Cheval Noir award for Best Screenplay for this film.
That will do for now.