Dashcam Review: Found Footage Horror Movie Ruins Interesting Premise

The team behind Dashcam, including writer-director Rob Savage and scribes Jed Shepherd and Gemma Hurley, are perhaps best known for their aforementioned horror hit Host, dubbed the scariest movie of the decade by some. That movie pushed the found footage genre into new directions as it followed a group of friends conducting a seance over Zoom. Whereas that movie found horror in stillness and restraint, Dashcam is quite the opposite. From the shaky camera work that the genre is known for to its protagonist’s near-constant stream-of-consciousness livestreams, Dashcam goes for broke when it comes to pulling out the scares. However, the livestream format hinders some of the more horrific moments. The comments from viewers occupying the left side of the screen, coupled with floating emojis on the right, make for a distracting element that could make audiences feel like they actually are watching a shoddy Instagram Live rather than a well-crafted horror movie.

Annie being completely unlikable as a protagonist is also sure to grate on the nerves of viewers who will find her style of humor nearly unbearable. While Hardy delivers a solid performance that’s sometimes even funny, her right-wing leanings are hardly justified by the plot of Dashcam, making her character all the more confusing. Annie’s ideological beliefs serve no purpose other than to seemingly get a rise out of audiences, something horror is already designed to do. Some of the more shocking moments will certainly stir something up in jump scare-prone viewers, but Dashcam does little else in the way of innovation when it comes to the found footage genre.

Some of the scares are effective enough. Tension is built easily in the darkened areas Annie and Stretch travel through and jump scares aren’t hard to come by when the camera moves as much as it does. But some baffling decisions are made and it’s hard to justify some of the movie’s turns when it nears its climax. Eventually, the scares become repetitive, as does the constant run-fight-repeat that occupies the last two-thirds of the movie. A film that makes audiences root for the villain isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but when the big bad is as thinly sketched as Dashcam‘s, audiences aren’t left with much.

While Dashcam certainly had the opportunity to take the found footage genre up a notch (especially considering the prevalence of Instagram Lives during the early months of the pandemic), it quickly loses sight of any nuanced commentary it could’ve achieved. Instead, audiences are left with a puzzling mosaic of jump scares, one-note characters, and schlocky gore that will certainly disturb but won’t leave much impact beyond its slim runtime.

Dashcam released in theaters and on demand June 3. The film is 87 minutes long and is rated R for bloody violence, pervasive language, and crude sexual references throughout.

Our Rating:

2 out of 5 (Okay)


More information about Dashcam Review: Found Footage Horror Movie Ruins Interesting Premise

The team behind Dashcam, including writer-director Rob Savage and scribes Jed Shepherd and Gemma Hurley, are perhaps best known for their aforementioned horror hit Host, dubbed the scariest movie of the decade by some. That movie pushed the found footage genre into new directions as it followed a group of friends conducting a seance over Zoom. Whereas that movie found horror in stillness and restraint, Dashcam is quite the opposite. From the shaky camera work that the genre is known for to its protagonist’s near-constant stream-of-consciousness livestreams, Dashcam goes for broke when it comes to pulling out the scares. However, the livestream format hinders some of the more horrific moments. The comments from viewers occupying the left side of the screen, coupled with floating emojis on the right, make for a distracting element that could make audiences feel like they actually are watching a shoddy Instagram Live rather than a well-crafted horror movie.

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Annie being completely unlikable as a protagonist is also sure to grate on the nerves of viewers who will find her style of humor nearly unbearable. While Hardy delivers a solid performance that’s sometimes even funny, her right-wing leanings are hardly justified by the plot of Dashcam, making her character all the more confusing. Annie’s ideological beliefs serve no purpose other than to seemingly get a rise out of audiences, something horror is already designed to do. Some of the more shocking moments will certainly stir something up in jump scare-prone viewers, but Dashcam does little else in the way of innovation when it comes to the found footage genre.

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Some of the scares are effective enough. Tension is built easily in the darkened areas Annie and Stretch travel through and jump scares aren’t hard to come by when the camera moves as much as it does. But some baffling decisions are made and it’s hard to justify some of the movie’s turns when it nears its climax. Eventually, the scares become repetitive, as does the constant run-fight-repeat that occupies the last two-thirds of the movie. A film that makes audiences root for the villain isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but when the big bad is as thinly sketched as Dashcam‘s, audiences aren’t left with much.

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While Dashcam certainly had the opportunity to take the found footage genre up a notch (especially considering the prevalence of Instagram Lives during the early months of the pandemic), it quickly loses sight of any nuanced commentary it could’ve achieved. Instead, audiences are left with a puzzling mosaic of jump scares, one-note characters, and schlocky gore that will certainly disturb but won’t leave much impact beyond its slim runtime.

Dashcam released in theaters and on demand June 3. The film is 87 minutes long and is rated R for bloody violence, pervasive language, and crude sexual references throughout.

Our Rating:
2 out of 5 (Okay)

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