Starring Erin Nicole Cline, Joe Coffey and Bjorn Jiskoot Jr.
Directed by Curt Wiser
Written by Curt Wiser, adapted from his novel “Box Cutter Killer”
“A thriller that revolves around Gessica, a 23 year old webcam stripper who is pushed to the limit when she is held hostage by an unknown gunman“.
Cam-Girl is the latest in a wave of webcam, chat room and adult performer themed horror thrillers, and it’s starting to seem strange why this isn’t being talked about among horror fans. Subgenres come in waves, and often reflect the political or social climate. So what does the rise in cam-girl horror say about society at the moment? Has this profession become more mainstream recently, or maybe social media has made it more accessible and caught the eye of young filmmakers.
The idea is ripe for film treatment on a budget, automatically carrying a Hitchcockian, voyeuristic quality, with built in sex appeal. But why now? I reviewed the hypnotic BB recently, which was a visually stunning analysis of a cam-girl and the dangers of the job. But in being completely non-judgemental, it perhaps suggested that the job isn’t the problem, it’s the society that frowns upon a person making money doing something they enjoy that is disturbed.
Cam-Girl doesn’t answer the questions in the same way, instead delivering a slick, slasher type scenario. Think a cross between Scream, Saw and Phone Booth, and you wouldn’t be far off. But rather than offer senseless violence and torture, Cam-Girl is more about the psychological analysis of its lead character as Gessica is forced to hold a mirror up to herself and her past, or die.
While far from perfect, Cam-Girl is held together by the solid rock that is Erin Nicole Cline as Gessica. In what is for the most part a one woman show, Cline does wonders with the character, filling her with a naturalism that many would struggle with. And she makes a very flawed (I’m not talking about the cam stuff) character very likeable. In a similar yet less provocative way to BB, Cam-Girl subverts the typical victim character and then toughens them up.
While it is great to see filmmaker Wiser go the road less traveled, the psychological rather than the visceral, it does leave a few drawback. The pace, particularly in the mid-section, hovers when it should soar, becoming just a little bit too talky. And the film as a whole is surprisingly conservative when it comes to nudity and the exploration of sexuality, especially considering the plot. A strength of BB was its raw realism and expression of female sexual empowerment.
However, upon reflection, Cam-Girl is more about the inner than the outer, and in that sense it’s a resounding success. Sure it has the usual micro-budget issues, dodgy sound and iffy camerawork and editing in places, but it is an entertaining Larry Cohen style thriller with a supremely engaging lead performance, and a few twists up its sleeve.