Not a bad way to spend 90+ minutes on Netflix.
Synopsis: CAM is a psychological thriller that follows Alice, an ambitious camgirl, who wakes up one day to discover she’s been replaced on her show with an exact replica of herself. As this copy begins to push the boundaries of Alice’s internet identity, the control that Alice has over her life, and the men in it, vanishes. While she struggles to regain what she’s lost, she slowly finds herself drawn back to her show and to the mysterious person who has taken her place. (Netflix)
Starring: Madeline Brewer, Patch Darragh, and Melora Walters
Writer: Isa Mazzei
Director: Daniel Goldhaber
Running Time: 94mins
The year of screen films continues with Cam. While not a screen-centered film, they play a significant role in this story (which is kind of fitting being a Netflix film). At its core, the film is a compelling thriller about losing one’s identity but fails to explore this idea with enough depth or surround it with enough to completely connect with the story. The film was about a woman named Alice (Brewer), an ambitious camgirl whose whole identity is based on the character she portrayed online. One day, she woke up just to find her identity stolen when an exact replica of herself has taken over her online identity. As the replica was seemingly taking over her life, she struggled as she tried to retain whatever she had left all while finding the truth about her situation.
Clocking in at around the 90 minute mark, the film is relatively short but also takes a little while to get going. We learned that Alice’s ambition meant that she was willing to do just about anything to get to the top. She had relationships with several of her viewers, including meeting them in the real world. Along the way, the story explored what went on behind the scenes of the female online adult performer industry in a non-judgemental way. The juxtaposition behind her normal life and her performer life was interesting. Alice kept her line of work mostly a secret, including from her mother Lynne (Walters). This all was to set up the stakes for the inevitable uprooting of her life, however, the payoff wasn’t quite there.
Alice was compelling to watch despite the story stumbling at times with the family drama and its handling of the mystery behind her replica. It took some interesting turns (and some strange ones), however, didn’t explore them deep enough in favor of a less than favorable resolution. Ultimately, the best part of the film was Brewer’s performance as Alice. It made up for a lot of the film’s flaws. The range shown during her transformation over the course of the film was impressive. Even more so since there weren’t any real characters besides her. It was just easy to relate to her fear and frustration over her situation even though the film glosses over the repercussions.
Overall, this was a decent thriller whose story may be lacking depth in certain areas but offers a compelling lead performance by Madeline Brewer. Though the subject matter won’t be for everybody, it’s not a bad way to spend around 90 minutes and is still one of the better Netflix original film offerings.
*Cam will be released on Netflix on November 16th*