Cam (2018) Review

Time: 94 Minutes
Madeline Brewer as Alice Ackerman/Lola_Lola
Patch Darragh as Tinker
Melora Walters as Lynne Ackerman
Devin Druid as Jordan Ackerman
Imani Hakim as Hannah Darin/Baby
Michael Dempsey as Barney
Director: Daniel Goldhaber

Alice (Madeline Brewer), an ambitious camgirl, wakes up one day to discover she’s been replaced on her show with an exact replica of herself.

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Cam is a Netflix thriller I heard some good things about. I had heard of the plot, camgirl finds replica of herself, and that’s all I knew about it, I didn’t watch the trailer or anything. Not knowing much definitely added quite a lot to the movie and I’m glad that was the case. Cam is a good and unsettling mystery thriller, with a unique setting, good direction and also featuring a great lead performance by Madeline Brewer.

Cam is a movie which I personally think benefits from not knowing much outside of the premise, so try not to learn too much before going into it. I actually haven’t heard of a movie that has camgirls as a present aspect in the plot, this might be a first. I’m not exactly sure about how accurate the portrayal of camgirling (if that’s a term) was but I heard that getting it right was a major goal of the filmmakers and watching Cam, it certainly seems like that’s the case. Cam is not an exploration into the camgirl world but it was interesting to get a glimpse into it nonetheless. Doppelganger movies have been done many times before in many different genres but with Cam they really do make it seem unnerving. The idea of watching an exact copy of yourself on a screen, having no control over it and just not knowing what is happening at all is used to its fullest unsettling extent. It’s effectively creepy. Everyone who has watched Cam has called it a Black Mirror episode and it really does feel like it. With that said, not everything is handled the best but there are just minor flaws with it. I feel like some bits of the movie feel unrealistic in terms of human behaviour, in that the way people react isn’t how people would react in this situation. It’s mainly when Alice (Madeline Brewer) tries to show people that a doppelganger of herself somehow was livestreaming and their reactions just didn’t seem right, a notable example is when she shows the police. The police were pretty much like “well that’s a little weird” and weren’t even that surprised and didn’t think that was worth looking into. Its very far fetched that a bunch of people would just not even wonder what’s going on, Alice is like the only one freaking out about it. Cam also doesn’t really explain the whole replica thing or what exactly it is. There is a sort of explanation given but it feels like there’s another half of an explanation that we didn’t get to learn about. Not that I wanted them to reveal absolutely everything, because it could’ve taken away a lot away from the mystery. I just wished we got a little more than what we received. Thankfully there is a resolution to the story and didn’t end on a cliffhanger like I was worrying it would be.

Much of Cam is really good, from the writing to the direction but ultimately it’s Madeline Brewer that really made the movie work as well as it does, she’s really great in the lead role. Even before it gets to the replica aspect, it establishes that she’s very competitive. she loves what she does and its interesting watching her whilst she’s in this lifestyle and job, even if it’s rather uncomfortable at many points. Then when the replica thing happens, she’s very convincing in the role reacting to what’s happening and things that she’s discovering.

The direction by Daniel Goldhaber was pretty good throughout, it’s got a really great look to it, particularly the lighting and use of colours at times. Cam is more of a thriller than a full on horror, more unnerving than scary, and in that it does a really good job at getting under your skin. Watching Alice watching Other Alice on a screen is rather creepy and we don’t know what’s happening.

Cam is a solid and well directed thriller, unnerving throughout much of its runtime, and has a great lead performance anchoring everything together. If a good doppelganger thriller with the setting surrounding camgirls sounds appealing to you, Cam is right up your alley.

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