Cam

Like so many of us these days, I spend a lot of time online. With the myriad of social media platforms and their innate inability to realistically represent people, I have a lot of personas out there. The author persona, the dancer persona, the horror model persona, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter…

While I enjoy my time online (for the most part), I am not ignorant to the alarming new world of high tech dangers into which we have embarked. It crosses my mind frequently enough that I have started a horror novel on all the ways an online life could turn on someone.

I’m not the only one dwelling on these ideas. Cam blazes into the idea far ahead of me.

In Cam, Alice (Madeline Brewer) is an ambitious cam girl (woman who poses for a webcam, often considered sex work), working tirelessly to improve her ranking on the very competitive platform. She devises more shocking shows and goes to greater lengths to improve her numbers in almost pathological motivation. Yet, when she finally flirts with success, the online persona she has worked so hard to craft turns on her, plunging her into a nightmare of desperation and loss of control.

Cam offers an alarming look into the vulnerability of our online identities and personas. While the horror is filtered through the lens of a sex worker, the fear is universal. What happens to Alice could happen to anyone, and that idea is terrifying.

The conflict in the film is developed very empathetically, and that relatability extends to the sex worker character. The industry is often shrouded in taboo and prejudice, but Cam does an impressive job of demystifying and rehumanizing the actual people living these lives. (I love that the movie was written by a former sex worker.)

Alice is portrayed and acted so that she comes across so very real with a recognizable balance of ambition and obsession. I empathized with her; I cared about her, and that made the horror and the movie as a whole more successful. By the end, I was so invested that the empowering conclusion left me completely satisfied.

Clever and groundbreaking, Cam is required viewing.

 

Christina Bergling

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