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‘Dashcam’ review: Solid mix of styles loses steam towards end

Better stay inside.

Dashcam (not to be confused with DASHCAM) is a mystery that merges different sub genres. Part found footage, part single location thriller, the film follows a video editor named Jake (Eric Tabach) who may have stumbled upon a wide ranging conspiracy after an expected email provides more than anticipated. Will he convince anyone else or have his ambitions gotten the better of him?

Found footage has a tendency to pop up in the strangest places. It has become so integrated in film, that it is easy to ignore its influences. Dashcam uses found footage to heighten its mystery. Much of what happens is seen on Jake’s computer. Video calls and security footage all progress the plot. While the movie does not do anything new, many will find it interesting.

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Dashcam is like found footage in other ways. Those who are not interested by the way the story is told will find it tedious and repetitive. This often happens in point of view films that do not try to win over a new audience. Unlike found footage horror, writer-director Christian Nilsson tries to use the story to pique interest. It just does do enough to win over those who already dislike the genre.

This works to great effect for the majority of the movie. As Jake reviews the audio and video files and tries to put things together, many watching will do their best to solve the crime. Dashcam is not like other thrillers that state what the technology is doing; it invites audiences to watch as everything is put together. (This is also the reason that many will be turned off.)

This ends up being one of the biggest drawbacks. Just as the plot is getting thicker and it is becoming more clear that things are not quite what they seem, Dashcam pulls back. There are a bunch of questions that are left unanswered. This is followed by the ill advised decision to take the story out of its atmospheric single setting. The story thrives in Jake’s claustrophobic apartment. Once things movie outdoors, the plot seems to lose its way. 

Dashcam is available on digital October 19

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