Netflix Now: Harsh Alternate Reality: Cam (2018) Reviewed

Once again, Netflix knocks it out of the park with a low budget horror/thriller that plays to current themes of sexuality and paranoia. 

Their new release, Cam captures the modern times we live in where women that are willing to bare themselves online for money can end up being a cold and harsh place where they can fall victim to technology's failures and obsessed followers that could do them harm. Filmed between the real world and the internet environment in which these girls thrive, Cam is an excellent portrayal of how obsession and addiction can take a vital tool and turn it into a place of potential violence and personal grief. And it should have parents discussing the dangers of live streaming for financial gain. While many of the plot points could be exposed as pure escapism, there are many things that happen in the movie that could very easily happen in reality. 

Much like this year's other tech based thriller Searching, director Daniel Goldhaber has a firm grasp on where society is headed while we all allow ourselves further down the rabbit hole of technology unleashed. His story here is relevant to current times but also plays to old school tropes of infatuation gone haywire and men's unleashed desires for beauty over substance. If anything, Cam is a worthwhile entry in this new line of movies that use our daily interactions on the internet to their full extent. When we're behind the screen, we can alter who we are, hide from reality, and pretend we're someone we're not. Cam shows us just how far things can go when all the boxes are checked for unrestrained sensuality turned into personal harm.

As a parent, this movie struck a chord with me that actually made me fear my daughter's use of the internet. The quick cash grab of working on one of the cam sites is alluring to teen girls because they provide instant gratification and the personal reward of men and women fawning over them for sexual fulfillment. Cam presents a this new found reality where women and men present themselves for the world to see because it's easy money tapped into loneliness, sexual addiction, and the simplicity of sex without the having to get personal. Yet, there is also a strong message of empowerment here that shouldn't be ignored. 

While Cam isn't going to win any major awards, it's a harsh look at what's happening online that meshes the thriller genre into a modern tale of feminism as its lead, played by Madeline Brewer, attempts to take back her stolen identity. Where many may have taken jabs at her chosen profession, Goldhaber and writer Isa Mazzei (a former cam girl) understand the relevance of their subject matter by never shaming or taking a negative stance on this career. If you're a person that uses the internet on a daily basis or have ever visited any type of cam site, you'll find something to love about Cam.