Director Rob Savage shocked the world right at the start of the pandemic when he debuted his first major film on Shudder – ‘Host’; the viral sensation that was about a virtual séance that happens entirely in real time on Zoom. It was praised and compared to things such as ‘Paranormal Activity’ & ‘The Blair Witch Project’, not necessarily for its content, but because it was the first mainstream film to be entirely filmed and premiered during the 2020 pandemic. It was, technically, a breakthrough for the genre. The following year, he worked on a new found-footage entry into horror once again. that premiered at a festival early this year before releasing to Theatres and VOD via Blumhouse Pictures.
‘Dashcam’ is the story of Annie Hardy (named both in character and in real life) who boasts and hosts the livestream channel ‘BandCar’, “the internet’s #1 live improvised music show broadcast from a moving vehicle.’ When she travels across the ocean to London during the pandemic, she steals her bandmates car and ends up in the middle of the worst night to be a delivery driver. At a location where nobody seems to be present, yet a food order came through, a woman asks her to come to the back of the restaurant and give her friend a ride to an undisclosed location for a lot of money. Annie agrees after some back and forth, and doesn’t realize that somebody else may be after this person.. or that this person is harboring a dark secret.
It’s a set up that seems interesting, and with the director’s previous effort being quite tense and fun, this sounds like it would be an easy crowd pleaser. Early reviews said it was ‘fresh’ with a bonkers final act. But the truth is that it has more problems than it has victories.
Right out the gate, within the first 5 minutes of this film, you will hate this lead character. Annie is a fucking miserable person. She’s aggressively Pro-Trump & Anti-Vax to the point where it is literally her entire character. She wears a MAGA hat for 2/3 of the film and cusses out an English shopkeeper whose simply trying to enforce his basic legal rules, while she herself is a foreigner in a land that doesn’t need her. She has a potty mouth and curses during the most goofy of times, which kills most tension that begins to build up. Her personality makes you wish she would die immediately. And her music she makes in her car is fucking stupid, to top it all off. Imagine when you are alone in your car and try freestyle rapping about really dumb things for fun.. and now broadcast that level of intelligence to thousands of fans online who are usually berating in their comments or toxically supportive.
So, after addressing the issues with the person you spend THE ENTIRE FILM with… we can now hit the actual film itself. While it does have some pretty creepy images and a journey that is pretty consistent once the gas is hit, it still fails to set itself apart from the thousand other found footage horror films we’ve seen, or even the hundred or so Pandemic-set films that have already been released over the last 2 years.
Between the extremely annoying protagonist and a story that is only-somewhat creative, but executed on a novice level, this movie isn’t one I can recommend. I thought it would be a fun time with my wife with some cool scares, but instead we were endlessly agitated and laughing inappropriately at a movie that decides screaming “shit on my balls” while your best friend gets his throat ripped out is normal human behavior.. or the fact that someone with an abrasive personality like this can get such support is also soul-crushing.
Speaking of which… with the exception of lost service for about 10 or so minutes, you are succumb the entire time to a live chatroom full of supporters, like minded people, trolls, and other typical online persona that endlessly scrolls across the left side of the screen. While there’s some moments where it cleverly sets up some tension by mentioning something before the viewer actually sees it, a majority of the time is spent being sarcastic or saying lewd comments to a female streamer. Again, it hurts the film more than it supports it.
Fuck this movie. Fuck Annie Hardy. If I ever meet her on the street, I will purposely hold the door open for her to slam it in her face. I can’t tell if you were acting very well, or were just being yourself, but shame on you either way, missy.
1/5 – Only a 1 and not a 0 because it is technically watchable.. and I’ve definitely seen worse… it’s just not good at all.
‘Dashcam’ is currently streaming on VOD, Vudu, & iTunes.
‘Til Next Time,
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