In 2020, during the height of the first lockdown, director Rob Savage, and a small team of actors and crew made the Zoom-produced film Host. If you saw it, you’ll know it was something truly unique and got to the heart of some fears we’ve all experienced during the pandemic. To top it all off, it was actually scary, something a lot of modern horror fails to achieve.
So, does Savage’s follow-up, Dashcam, similarly filmed during the pandemic, achieve the same heights? Partially. From a production standpoint, it is clear Savage has evolved his style as a director, bringing a firm hand to what he wants the film to be. The scares are just as good as they were in Host, with shocks you won’t see coming perfectly placed to lull you into a false sense of security before making you jump out of your chair.
However, its protagonist leaves much to be desired. Annie Hardy plays a fictionalized version of herself which is where the film’s problems and lack of substance rears its head. A cursory glance of Hardy’s Twitter will let you know their politics aren’t the most left-leaning. In the film itself, Annie the character is a Trump-supporting, anti-mask, constant annoyance, for lack of a better word. Even after watching a Q&A with Savage, it’s hard to tell if the film is showing the protagonist’s views for the idiocy it is, or whether it’s just a character facet that the film is avoiding commenting on.
Unfortunately, the issues with Hardy’s character detract a lot from what is good. The supporting cast is all great. You’ll even spot a couple of faces returning to work with Savage from Host. Stretch (Amar Chadha-Patel) is a standout as a former member of Hardy’s band who gets caught up in the supernatural events occurring throughout. And then there’s the mysterious Angela (Angela Enahoro), whose role in the plot I won’t spoil but is integral to keeping the scares coming.
I do recommend you check this film out, especially if you were a fan of Host, as you’ll get a lot out of seeing Rob Savage further flex at directing a found-footage horror story. But be warned you will likely face some major issues in trying to understand what he, the writers, and Annie Hardy were trying to achieve with its protagonist.
One last thing, Dashcam definitely receives the crown for most unique end credits I’ve ever watched. Is that a good thing? I’ll leave you to decide.