[Tiff 2021 Review] DASHCAM

[Tiff 2021 Review] DASHCAM
Courtesy TIFF
DASHCAM, directed by Rob Savage, feels like a horror film from 20 years ago. The age of Jackass and edgelord (meaning offensive) humor requires low-level comedy intended to incite the masses yearning for comedy at marginalized communities’ expense. But this edgelord is a nasally-voiced, anti-vaxxer, MAGA supporting white woman, Annie Hardy (played by herself), a horrid person from start to finish. The choice of a lead so reprehensible only works if there is something more by the end of the film, i.e., character growth, commentary on society, etc. The lack of any of this makes DASHCAM memorable for all the wrong reasons.

The fact that this film came from basic improvisation and a skeleton script speak volumes about the type of horror and humor they find not only acceptable, but good. The film begins with Annie Hardy live-streaming her musical improv talents. The incest lyrics are just a precursor to the cruel, insulting actions and words Annie spouts regularly. Quickly, Annie packs up to skip town and visit her friend in England, abandoning her cat to an uncertain fate. Annie is the epitome of a privileged, entitled white woman that has no concept of boundaries or understanding of the word “no.”

She finds a hide-a-key and enters her friend Stretch’s home in the middle of the night, spits in her hand, and slaps him awake. This causes an uproar since his girlfriend Gemma awakens, screaming and hurling projectiles. Annie’s obnoxious nature increases throughout the film. When Annie ferries an elderly charge, all hell breaks loose.

Throughout all of this, Annie continues her live stream, though there are occasions where the stream has to reconnect. It doesn’t detract from what audiences see, but there’s no livestream chat from Annie’s viewers until the connection is back up. The entirety of the film, same as Rob Savage’s previous film Host, takes place online. This style and the horror elements I did love.

Throughout the film, Annie Hardy’s cursing does inspire laughs; however, everything else about her reeks of the worse levels of white entitlement. From berating restaurant staff demanding they answer her questions regarding COVID for her to leave their establishment to swiping Stretch’s car keys. Many of the people harmed are Brown and Black people, making the film even more uncomfortable to watch. The separation between character and actor doesn’t exist here since Annie Hardy, however exaggerated, plays herself.

So, since the separation isn’t there, it makes me wonder if the film’s sole purpose was to be offensive. If yes, what does that say about the promising director of Host? I went into the movie expecting terror but instead felt discomfort. What Rob Savage gave us here is a Karen film with monsters. DASHCAM is a Karen TikTok that goes on forever, and you watch hoping Karen winds up on her ass. When it doesn’t happen, you’re left annoyed and feeling as though you’ve wasted minutes of your life. That was probably the point.

With DASHCAM, you’ll waste 77 minutes of your life. That’s time you can’t get back. And, despite Annie’s claims to the contrary, these are precious times. You could spend it with loved ones, dying your hair, clipping your toenails, taking a dump; any of that would be time better spent. If you like offensive humor led by a privileged white woman who loves treating everyone around her like they’re peons, then this film is for you. If not, don’t waste your time. This is an egregious misstep on the part of Rob Savage and Blumhouse.

DASHCAM had its World Premiere at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival.

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