C.A.M., that stands for “Contagious, Aggressive, Mutations”, opens with text telling us the footage we’re about to see is from 2013 and was leaked by a government employee. It further advises us that damaged footage was restored as needed and some faces are obscured for legal reasons. Or, in other words, we’re about to see a found footage film.
Framed, and occasionally interrupted by, audio of an interview with the medical team member who leaked the footage C.A.M. follows SFO Police Officer Chris (Jamie Langlands, Strangers Within, Dragonflies Only Live for 24 Hours), SFO Police Officer Maggot (Daniel Jeary) and their pixelated commanding officer on a mission to evacuate workers from a meat packing plant struck by a parasitic infection. Accompanying them is a two person camera team Jo (Charlotte Curwood) and Kyle (Tom Ware). What we see is a mix of their footage and what was recorded by the officer’s helmet cams.
For the first half hour that isn’t much except the five of them wandering around the woods and some footage inside the mysteriously empty plant. It’s a bit tedious and the constant interruptions from the audio interview and title cards dispels any tension that might have built up. Writer Steph Du Melo (As A Prelude to Fear) and co-director Larry Downing also include also include some heavy handed political commentary that I could have done without.
Once we finally meet some of the infected C.A.M. picks up considerably. Some of them, in the early stages, look normal but act drunk or drugged. Once the infection takes control their eyes turn milky and glazed and they become violent. This being a British film the police first use their nightsticks until they realize how bad the situation is which took a bit of getting used to for me.
The downside to this is that since the footage is all from either helmet or handheld cameras once the pace picks up the footage becomes very shaky. Those that get a headache from that kind of footage may want to keep some Advil handy.
Unfortunately by the hour mark C.A.M. has gone off into full on conspiracy bullshit as a medical worker (Tom Swatton, The Nights Before Christmas, Butchers) they encounter tells them it isn’t a parasite that’s causing the outbreak. It’s the vaccine they’re giving to ward off the alleged parasite. It’s a test run for a plot to cut the world’s population.
I’m not sure if C.A.M. was shot in 2013 and sat on a shelf until now as a couple of other reviewers have stated or if the September 30th, 2021 completion date on FilmFreeway and 2021 copyright date on the print reflect the actual filming date. Just to add to the confusion, the film’s original poster bears a 2020 copyright date. Either way it’s just as unbelievable as a plot device as it is when some crank claims that it’s really happening. But if it was filmed in the middle of COVID then that’s a whole different level of cynical and shitty. Yes it’s their right to film it, it’s also mine to voice an opinion.
C.A.M. does manage a fairly effective night attack on the crew that might have somewhat saved the film if it had ended there. But instead it goes through multiple endings, each one more ludicrous than what came before. That includes a montage of quotes from such “experts” on the subject as Jacques Cousteau, Prince Phillip and Nicholas Cage as well as known extremists such as David Foreman.
If you are an anti-vaxxer you’ll probably love this film, but most others will want to toss C.A.M. in the B.I.N. MeloMedia Films will release C.A.M. on DVD, Blu-Ray and on Digital platforms on December 19th. You can check their website for more information.