DASHCAM - New Release Review
Director: Rob Savage
Starring: Annie Hardy, Amar Chadha-Patel, Angela Enahoro, Seylan Baxter, Jemma Moore
Written by: Gemma Hurley, Jed Shepherd, Rob Savage
Produced by: Jason Blum, Douglas Cox
An obnoxious US live-streamer travels to England to hang out with an old friend but after a bust up she embarks on one of the most terrifying nights of her life...and the camera is still rolling.
It goes without saying really that if you aren't inclined to enjoy found footage films then 'DASHCAM' may not be for you. However if 'The Blair Witch Project' is your 'Citizen Kane' then you are in for a real treat because 'DASHCAM' is the 'Blair Witch' turned up to eleven.
From the same team that brought us the amazing Zoom seance indie horror 'Host' in 2020, 'DASHCAM' follows Annie, a freestyle musician turned potty mouth social media live-streamer, who has had enough of the strict Covid-19 mandates in her native US of A so she jumps on a flight to London where she surprises her old band mate Stretch and his girlfriend Gemma (played by Jemma Moore). Annie is a horrible person and she knows it and she doesn't really attempt to hide the fact that she is a complete and utter repulsive bitch. In fact she seems proud of her abhorrent personality traits. Her live stream is called 'Band Car' and it depicts her driving around Los Angeles improvising songs using suggested words or phrases from her audience. These songs are really just sentences that don't really relate to anything and always contain highly profane language. Her live stream doesn't stop just because she's travelling to a different country unannounced and when she arrives she realises that her old mate isn't as welcoming as she was hoping.
Proudly parading her MAGA baseball cap and anti-Liberal attire, Annie is a strict Covid denier who makes no qualms about her distrust of the World's governments "overreaction" and "lies" following the global pandemic. She causes a scene in a local café where Stretch works as a delivery driver, which creates a rift between the two. Eventually Annie decides to go out on her own and hijacks Stretch's car in protest. At this point there really is a zero like-ability factor with Annie, to the point where viewers might just want to check out instead of tolerating anymore of her intrusive and ignorant behaviour.
But stay with it. Trust me.
The night goes from bad to worse, to a living fucking nightmare real quick when Annie meets Seylan (Seylan Baxter) while masquerading as a delivery driver using Stretch's work phone. Seylan pays her a nice lump of cash to escort a very sick woman by the name of Angela to a certain address and Annie, reluctant at first but seeing this an an entertaining event for her online audience, eventually gives in. Bad idea.
Angela turns out to be a victim of some sort of parasite possession (we never really find out the origin or get a true explanation) that takes over her body and allows her to behave inhuman-like. She is rabid like a zombie but at times she appears to have some sort of supernatural presence about her too. I won't spoil it for you but there are some scenes that made me want to vomit, in a good way(?)
Annie Hardy's performance really is something else and it's difficult to put into words just how much commitment she brings to the role. She really is the heart and soul of the film even though her character may not actually have a heart or soul. She has admitted that the role required her to play "an alt-right version of herself" but that everything else you see is pretty much her in real life. She is abrasively loud, antagonistic and insanely vulgar and although I absolutely hated her for the first twenty minutes or so, her character is so over the top and her clearly ad-libbed performance is layered with so much darkly obscene humour that I actually began to like her by the end. That may say a lot about me too (and I apologise for that) but as the film progresses towards the finale (and even during it's most horrifically chaotic sequences) it's evident that this batshit found footage horror film is also a hilarious satire on modern day "politics" and a highly charged mockery of how deep the corners of the social media cesspool can really go. It's utterly terrifying and also some of the craziest fun I've had watching a film in a very long time.
'DASHCAM' has hints of 'Evil Dead II' with it's chaotic energy and unapologetic splatter. A genuinely shocking film that manages to fit so much frenetic, bonkers horror and comedy into just 77 minutes. An absolute triumph. I can't wait to watch it again.
- Gavin Logan
'DASHCAM' hits Cinemas June 3rd and VOD June 5th