Year Released: 2012
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 88 minutes
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This review was originally published on August 21, 2012 and referenced the original title of Web-Cam; Review has been edited to reflect the title change…
Gessica (Erin Nicole Cline) leads a double life. On the one side, she’s a single mother struggling to make ends meet. On the other, she’s a web-cam girl, putting on sexy web-cam shows for strangers online. While she doesn’t entirely love her job, it pays well enough and she does enjoy the power she has over her paying audience. The problem is that her extrovert-friendly vocation is just one aspect of her life that has made her the next target of a local murderer, known via the news as the Box Cutter Killer.
The Box Cutter Killer isn’t up for just murdering Gessica, however, and instead calls her up with a series of rules and conditions to keep her alive. With his sharpshooting skills as incentive for Gessica to listen, the killer outlines his plan: Gessica is to call up her former boyfriends and lovers and come clean about every lie she told or manipulation she pulled on them during their relationships. It’s an odd request to be sure, but then again what request from a raspy, creepy guy on the phone, who also happens to be holding you hostage from afar with a rifle, is not going to be odd.
From the opening, filmmaker Curt Wiser’s Cam-Girl has a playful and sexy tone that really works. Once the cards are dealt for the main narrative thrust however, and the thriller side of things comes to the forefront, the film loses its fun and just becomes burdensome to watch. Or more appropriately, listen to.
The main problem with the film is the plot device of Gessica and the Box Cutter Killer having a lengthy back-and-forth on the phone. At first the basic premise of a Scream meets High Fidelity-friendly phone stalker is interesting enough, but the longer it’s just Gessica alone on the phone interacting with disembodied voices, the more the charm wears off and the film begins to drag. The conversations aren’t all that compelling and just as it becomes torturous for Gessica, so too does that tedium translate to the audience.
That said, to Erin Nicole Cline’s credit, her acting does manage to keep the more tiresome bits bearable; had her acting been even a touch weaker than it is, the film would fall apart entirely. I just wish she’d been given more than a phone to act against for the majority of the film, as I think she’s probably a stronger actor than this film allows her to showcase.
The film does begin to mix things up by giving a few cut-aways and at least one flashback to flesh out the phone conversation as it rolls along, and the cinematography tries a few different tricks during the film to keep the visuals interesting. Unfortunately the audio isn’t always the easiest to listen to, particularly early on (obviously the phone conversations are more controlled, and easier to hear) and there’s a few moments of questionable ADR, but other than that the technical side of things is good enough.
While Cam-Girl isn’t a great film, and a more than slightly derivative thriller that tips its hand early-on, it does have its positives. Again, Erin Nicole Cline’s performance as Gessica is strong enough, and even if you’re not completely a fan of her performance, she’s easy on the eyes for someone who is the camera’s focus the majority of the time. Though, to be fair, if that’s your sole level of appreciation, you probably would be better served just watching a real web-cam girlie show.
This film was submitted for review through our Submission for Review system. If you have a film you’d like us to see, and we aren’t already looking into it on our own, you too can utilize this service.
Posted on August 21, 2012 in Reviews by Mark Bell
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