Reviews | Written by Joel Harley 04/06/2022

DASHCAM

After his phenomenally successful Zoom ‘em-up Host, director Rob Savage returns to the COVID well for this found footage-inspired horror feature, following the adventures of a grating influencer abroad in England. As the star and host of an improvised singing slash driving show (think Carpool Karaoke, except somehow even more vile) Annie Hardy (also Annie Hardy) jets off to Blighty, having tired of COVID restrictions in the States.

Making sure to pack her MAGA baseball cap and livestreaming equipment, Annie wastes little time in pissing off everyone she meets – particularly old friend Stretch (Amar Chadha-Patel) and his girlfriend (Jemma Moore). Stealing Stretch’s car and hijacking his job as a food delivery driver, Annie’s night devolves into chaos when she is tasked with driving a sick old woman across town. Getting peed and pooped on is only the start of it.

Stepping out from behind the Zoom interface to deliver a more traditional found footage experience, this is a chaotic and unpredictable road trip across the streets of England. While the film’s structure and format are more familiar than Host, the film is no less ambitious, featuring a vast variety of shocks and scares. A white-knuckle rollercoaster of crashes, clashes and explosions of violence, it’s the most relentless found-footager since 2007’s [Rec].

Blurring the line between performer and performance is the controversial Annie Hardy, swearing, screeching, screaming, rapping and slapping her way to online infamy. It’s a bold choice, to make an Internet Troll one’s protagonist, and Hardy is never switched off, leaving audiences constantly guessing where Annie’s true beliefs lie. No effort is made to make our Annie more palatable to either her online audiences or this one; every time you think she might show a bit of humanity, it’s undercut with a foul comment or casual cruelty to poor Stretch.

This is a brave, blunt-force charismatic performance from Hardy, but not a pleasant one. Between its nails-down-the-chalkboard protagonist, near-constant jump scares and gross-out trauma, it makes for an exhausting experience. An essential addition to found footage canon, Dashcam will have its haters, but one suspects that's almost the point.