Dashcam Review

Dashcam Review

Dashcam was reviewed out of the Toronto International Film Festival, where it made its world premiere.Director Rob Savage is gunning hard to become the king of pandemic-era horror. Last summer, he wowed critics with Host, a savage and sharp séance movie set during lockdown and “shot” across a Zoom call. Now, he’s back with Dashcam, another screen life horror tale set amid COVID-19’s stranglehold. But despite jump scares, a vicious monster, and a studio-backed budget, this much-anticipated follow-up is a repugnant, incoherent jumble that ruthlessly rips off The Blair Witch Project while treating a global catastrophe as a provocative gimmick. Dashcam follows Annie Hardy, an L.A. musician fleeing lockdown to visit a former bandmate in England. Across the pond, she swiftly wears out her welcome by scoffing at COVID precautions, angering his girlfriend and endangering his job — and then she steals his car. This devil-may-care attitude turns uniquely dangerous when she accepts a stack of cash to drive a sickly stranger to a remote address. Of course, there’s more to this task than meets the eye. Soon, she’s fighting for her life against a ferocious foe she doesn’t understand. This follow-up reunites Savage with his screenwriting partners on Host, Gemma Hurley and Jed Shepherd. However, in the director intro ahead of its TIFF debut, Savage noted there wasn’t a screenplay for Dashcam as much as a “skeleton outline.” From there, the team went into the woods and shot a bunch of improvised scenes on their iPhones. Basically, they Blair Witched it, having their cast act out spooky scenarios in a found-footage set-up. Their horror-struck heroine even pays homage to Heather Donahue’s iconic “I’m sorry” moment (though with a glib twist). However, unlike its inspiration, Dashcam is woefully lacking in momentum. Its protagonist has no motivation or even curiosity that would urge her to explore the mysterious evil that derails her journey. She just crashes into one situation after another, making for an episodic string of violent encounters. In a clever move, the screen life framing of the film reflects Annie’s live-for-the-moment shortsightedness. She hosts a live-cast musical improvisational show where commenters throw out prompts for freestyle raps. Most of her songs are diss tracks full of curse words, scatological humor, and raunchy references to genitals — which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but they're not particularly substantive, either. She’s a provocateur whose callous wisecracks target COVID panic, Black Lives…
Source: Dashcam Review

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