Fantastic Fest 2018 Review: CAM

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

This dark erotic thriller reveals some of the more mundane realities of being a camgirl as well as the nasty, creepier ones.  Written by Isa Massei, a former cam girl and sex worker, Cam offers some true-to-life insight on the world of online sex workers while delivering a tense and unnerving mystery-thriller of a story.  Director Daniel Goldhaber does a tremendous job of creating this sometimes dark and sinister world, but treats its protagonist and her sex worker colleagues without judgment or condemnation.Madeline Brewer stars as Alice, a vibrant young woman who spends several of her nights working as Lola, a sexy camgirl with a dedicated following of fans.  Though Alice cannot bring herself to tell her mother about her career choice, it is hard to resist the financial rewards of the sex industry.  Alice makes it her chief goal to make Lola the most popular camgirl of her website.  In striving to achieve this aspiration, Lola may have made a few enemies along the way.  This doesn’t become truly apparent until Alice discovers that a lookalike has hijacked her channel and begins to reap the financial benefits while Alice must deal with the real world aftermath.

Though the big reveal behind this modern labyrinth of a mystery plays out somewhat messily, the journey there makes for genuinely compelling thriller cinema.  Both Daniel Goldhaber and Isa Massei have delivered a fantastic movie that is sure to creep people out in all of the appropriate ways, and leave them as desperate for the truth as Alice is.  Madeline Brewer gives a tremendous multi-layered performance full of lovable charisma and pluck.  Brewer’s realization of her character, along with the exceptional development by Massei, make Alice a fascinating character with whom all kinds of people can empathize.  This honest and genuine treatment of the life of a sex worker totally subverts the tired horror cliche that sexual beings should be judged horrifically.  I found this take to be much more realistic and refreshing.

 

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