Cam: Netflix’s streaming Horror Show Turns it Out. A Review by Brandon Schreur

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Cam: Netflix’s streaming Horror Show Turns it Out. A Review by Brandon Schreur

cam

Weird and twisted as it may be.

Cam girls and sex workers are often misunderstood.

Isa Mazzei knows this, as she used to work in the industry herself. That’s what drove her to write the new Netflixhorror movie, Cam.

Directed by relatively new filmmaker Daniel Goldhaber, Cam follows a young camgirl named Alice Ackerman (Madeline Brewer) — aka Lola — in her quest to rank in the top 50 for the site that she makes erotic videos for.

That’s a lot easier said than done, as other camgirls — such as Baby (Imani Hakim), Fox (Flora Diaz), PrincessX (Samantha Robinson) and LuckyDuck (Quei Tann) —have a similar goal and will stop at nothing to get it.

In order to really sell that, though, you need top-notch performances. Luckily, Madeline Brewer really delivers here, bringing so much life and energy to this character. Between this and The Handmaid’s Tale, Brewer has proven she’s one to watch out for.

Cam

credit: YouTube

Along with pleasing some of the regular watchers/generous donators like Tinker (Patch Darragh) and Barney (Michael Dempsey), what placing in the top 50 really comes down to is how good of a show you can put on.

And Alice just so happens to have a pretty entertaining show.

Along with her bubbly personality and fearless behavior, Alice also has a certain gimmick to her shows that keeps people coming back time and time again. A gimmick that you and I might find a little odd, but one that certain people on the internet eat up nonetheless (rule 34 proving itself to be true time and time again).

That gimmick involves staging fake suicides on-screen, much to the horror/delight of the audience.

Cam

credit: YouTube

Yes, really. Alice comes up with highly elaborate sketches that have her pretend to cut her own throat or choke on a piece of food, only for her to reveal that it was all make-believe and then wish her watches tonight.

Again, it’s weird, but people on the internet love weird, so it makes sense. But then, something even weirder — to the point of inexplicable — happens.

Alice wakes up one morning to find that her account is already online. That’s not possible, she knows, as she vividly remembers logging out last night and her laptop has been closed ever since.

Yet, here she is, somehow still online.

Cam

credit: YouTube

Things get worse when she clicks on her account, finding that someone who looks just like her is in the middle of filming a new video.

Obviously, that can’t really be her, so she automatically assumes the website is just re-running one of her old videos (which isn’t supposed to happen).

She calls tech-support to get some answers, only to find out that, apparently, it’s all legit. This video of herself that she’s watching is really being filmed live somewhere in the world at this very moment, even though Alice clearly isn’t the one doing it.

It doesn’t help that Alice can’t log in as long as Alice 2.0 is online. That means that this other person suddenly has complete control over her reputation and pretty much her entire life, which gets even scarier when Alice 2.0 starts to become hostile.

Cam

credit: YouTube

Which is a brilliant, albeit insane, concept to make into a feature-length movie.

From the get-go, Cam hits you with this sense of unease that something about this situation is wrong. Not wrong in terms of Alice’s line of work, mind you, but wrong in the sense of dread and sudden realizations.

Even when knowing the general synopsis to Cam, that moment when Alice 2.0 is revealed is no less shocking or terrifying. After that, you’re constantly trying to figure out what’s going on along with Alice. Is someone just messing with her? Could this be something supernatural? Or is it some sort of Fight Club metaphor, where she’s projecting herself into different people?

You never know what the answer is and, right when you think you do, Mazzei and Goldhaber pull the rug out from underneath you and reveal that you were wrong this whole time.

The longer Cam goes on, the bigger of a task it gives itself in finding a way to satisfyingly wrap this all up. At one point, when the movie was roughly 25-minutes from ending, I got up to go to the bathroom and told myself that I can’t think of one plausible way they’ll be able to conclude this thing.

Cam

credit: YouTube

They find a way and it’s great. It may not answer every single question that you have, but it’s an ending that fits perfectly with the rest of the movie.

What’s even better than all the twists and turns that Cam takes you on, though, is the way it treats its characters.

Along with showing some nuts-and-bolts of the cam industry that most people probably don’t know, Cam portrays the camgirls as actual human beings with real emotions, real hopes and dreams, real families and real fears.

For Alice, this business isn’t necessarily a means to an end, but something she genuinely enjoys doing — which is such a refreshing take. Rather than shaming people for being involved with something like this, Cam honors and respects them.

Cam

credit: YouTube

Sometimes that takes the form of exposing the way other people treat camgirls, as there are more than a few scenes where Alice is forced to confront people who look down on her because of her line of work — one in particular that involves a police officer, which made me feel physically ill (it’s even worse when you realize that Mazzei based that interaction off of a real-life experience she had).

In order to really sell that, though, you need top-notch performances. Luckily, Madeline Brewer really delivers here, bringing so much life and energy to this character. Between this and The Handmaid’s Tale, Brewer has proven she’s one to watch out for.

On the surface, Cam might look like Black Mirror mixed with that not-so-good Nerve movie from 2016 with Emma Roberts and Dave Franco. Honestly, if that’s all it was, it probably would have been enough. Yet, there’s so much going on underneath the surface of this one. It’s changing the narrative of how we ignorantly treat people working in an industry we likely don’t know a lot about, which is enough reason alone for why you should watch this film.

Watch the trailer for Cam here and then let us know, in the comments below, what you thought about the movie!