2021

Dashcam (2021, Rob Savage)

The people who made this movie are extremely enamoured with Annie Hardy. I didn’t know anything about her though she’s actually only a few months older than me. If I had encountered her music when I first encountered Anal Cunt or when I was, say, 22, I can imagine also being enamoured by her music. But we’re both 40 now and, personally, I’m less into “hey this song has gross sex stuff in it yuk yuk yuk” than I was 20 years ago.

SPOILERS

This is a found footage horror film set during the pandemic which takes the possibly unique spin that it is a live stream (at least for a majority of the time). I don’t know if it’s the first “live stream” horror film but it is the first one I’ve seen. I don’t really know why it’s called DASHCAM as the phone is only used as an actual dashcam very, very briefly. A lot happens in cars, but the camera is clearly meant to be a phone.

So, like any found footage movie there are two major problems:

  • At some point you can no longer believe that the person with the camera would still have it on. This movie gets around that a little bit by making it both a phone, not a digital camera, and making the lead an obnoxious live-streamer, but it still doesn’t explain why other people use the phone or why it’s recording when she stops streaming. I’m actually not sure if there is a found footage film that has ever satisfactorily dealt with this issue, though.
  • The other issue is that, as usual, the camera is shaky. In this case, it’s some of the shakiest I’ve seen in some time. It makes it hard to figure out what the hell is happening. That’s typical of the genre, of course, but it hasn’t gotten any better in 2021.

Hardy’s over-the-top live-streamer is an awful person. That’s the point but she really is terrible. And it makes the film harder to like because of

SPOILERS

what doesn’t happen to her. When you have a character this unlikable in a horror film, it helps to kill her off. But no, somehow this terrible person who only cares about getting attention on her live stream is capable enough to survive. Not only does it not exactly track but it is supremely unstatisfying.

Still, it’s a different spin on the genre, one I haven’t seen before. And it is quite funny on occasion, whether it’s the slapstick comedy on screen, Hardy’s horrible behaviour or the comments on the live stream, where some of the best jokes are located. (I could see how fans might re-watch this to make sure they get all of those jokes.) With a little less shaky camera and a different ending, I think I might have actually liked it despite how awful Hardy’s character is.

5/10

PS I really do feel like this movie partially exists to try to make Hurdy a star, way into her career. She raps the credits. Well, she raps about the credits. And presumably they are hoping that this gives the movie some attention as well as her music career.

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