Review: CAM (2018) – Brooklyn Horror Film Festival
Alice (Madeline Brewer, THE HANDMAID’S TALE) is a cam girl. Not the kind that has sex on cam or even gets fully naked. She does a tease for tokens show and makes a pretty good living off of it. But she can’t crack the top ranks on her site despite her best efforts.
Then after an epic performance designed to put her over the top, she wakes up to find she’s been locked out of her account. No, she didn’t violate the rules, her account is still there and her show is still running. But with some kind of doppelganger starring in it. She’s apparently been hacked and had her identity stolen, by herself. A version of herself that seems to delight in doing its best to destroy the original.
Directed by Daniel Goldhaber from a script by former cam girl Isa Mazzei, CAM is a slick thriller that wants to make points not only about camming, but our online identities in general. There are all the usual issues we get in a film about sex workers, jealous rivals, obsessed fans turned stalkers, etc. Once the impostor shows up and the film digs into reality, virtual reality and fantasy is when it gets interesting.
Who or what is the imitation Lola. Why is she so determined to destroy not only the “real” Lola but her offline “real” identity as well? Where is the line between Lola and Alice for that matter? In an age where people can lose their jobs and reputations because of their online activities, these are questions we might want to ask of ourselves as well. Just as her secret identity is revealed to those she tried to hide from, so might your political or social comments on Twitter come to light.
Overall, CAM is a slick thriller that takes these questions just seriously enough to give its story some added substance without becoming too serious. And on that level it certainly works, keeping both Alice and the viewer guessing most of the way through the film. Granted once she realizes what she’s up against her solution seems a bit too simple. It does, however, make for an excellent climax. And that’s what you want from a cam girl, right?
CAM is on the festival circuit, I reviewed it via a screener from the Brooklyn Horror Film Festival. I’ll probably see it with an audience at the Saskatoon Fantastic Film Festival next month. Blumhouse has already sold it to Netflix, so you’ll be able to see it shortly after its festival run ends. If you like it, consider checking out BB for a different take on the cam girl thriller.