When asking someone to rate something between one and ten, a score below six would be considered poor. Even a five-point-nine would make you think twice about watching a show. It’s like less than three stars, you wouldn’t stay in a hotel with less than three stars.
When I am deciding to watch a show or a film, my first stop is IMDB to check the score of the show or film. If the score is above a six that generally means it is okay or good. It doesn’t mean the content is necessarily great, but it should be watchable.
I mean, if it’s below a five you expect that it is not going to be very good and, as a reviewer, you take your chances. Law of averages says that, with the sheer volume of content out there, there is going to be more duds than diamonds.
The 2018 film Cam, on Netflix, is not a diamond. It tells the story of a sex-cam performer, Alice, her online name being Lola (Madeline Brewer), who is desperate to improve her ranking on the cam service she performs on. She is popular but struggles to break into the top fifty. Every evening she does her camcorder show, changing up her routine in the hope of earning more followers and money.
One day she goes to log on and finds that she is blocked. When she checks her account, she finds that she is showing as being already online. Alice contacts the service provider to try and get to the bottom of the problem. They promise to look into it. The next day when she contacts them, her account is not recognised.
Alice is frantic, trying to discover who the imposter is that is taking over her sex-cam life. She struggles to get anyone to believe that it is not her, those who know that she does sex-cams thinking that they are pre-recorded shows.
One of her old fans, Tinker (Peter Darragh), who is completely obsessed with her, tracks her down to her home town. She believes he might know what is happening. Tinker is no help whatsoever. She catches him masturbating to her doppelgänger in the bathroom. She talks to the fake Lola, who does not see that she is Alice.
Alice returns home and logs into the cam. She live cams with fake Lola and the two compete for the popularity of the watchers. Alice wins the competition and as her prize asks for fake Lola’s account password. She gets the password and deletes the account. She changes her look and starts a new account. The end.
Cam has a solid six on IMDB. A six. So it is in the okay realm. It is not great and it should not be terrible. The six is not accurate. Cam is not a six. A four maybe, a four and a half at a push. It’s definitely not a six. It is a film about a sex-cam performer, with no gratuitous sex and violence, and it does not even have the good grace to be filmed even as well as a porn film.
The story, or should I say, unfinished idea, is a bit rubbish. The doppelgänger story trope is so overused that, if one is going to use it, the story needs to be a lot stronger than it is in Cam. Not only is the story rubbish, it also takes nearly half of the film to get to the point, with the first half of the film setting up relationships that go nowhere.
Alice has a younger brother, Jordan (Devin Druid) and a mother, Lynne (Melora Waters) who runs a beauty salon. She also has a few friends/acquaintances who are fellow sex-cam girls. She meets an old high school friend, Katie (Jessica Parker Kennedy) who she invites to her brothers birthday party. None of this has anything to do with the film.
The other characters in this film are just there to make up the numbers, all they add is scenery, making the world in which Alice inhabits mildly realistic. They add nothing to the story with the exception of a few banal interactions with Alice.
At about forty minutes into the film, I checked to see how long was left. On seeing nearly an hour, I nearly gave up. A review, however, dictates that you should have seen the film you’re reviewing. So I persevered. You’re welcome. The acting in Cam is neither good nor overtly bad. It is, mostly forgettable.
The lead, Madeline Brewer, is okay, struggling to make a quite dull character interesting. The script by Isa Mazzel is forgettable, lacking any subtlety or humour. The film tries to strike a balance between thriller and horror and fails on both fronts. Daniel Goldhaber’s direction is dull and not at all inspired. It is all in focus, so, there is that.
Cam is ninety plus minutes of unimaginative, uninspired, nonsense. Give this one a miss.