TIFF 2021: Rob Savage’s “DASHCAM” Streams Serious Scares

It’s been a while since a film really scared the hell out of me. Truth is, I love horror a lot, but I’m an easy scare. It doesn’t take much to get under my skin and freak me out. Unfortunately, the last two genre films I saw in the theatre, The Night House and Candyman did it for me. While they were both well-acted and well-directed, neither did much of the way of giving me real chills. Instead, they left me wondering if maybe I’d become numb to mainstream horror fare.

Then I watched DASHCAM. And had the holy hell scared out of me. And then some.

Directed by Rob Savage (Host) and starring Annie Hardy, DASHCAM follows the escapades of the MAGA-loving, streaming star Hardy, who breaks quarantine in L.A. and sets off for merry old England to surprise her former bandmate Stretch (Amar Chadha-Patel). Caustic, obnoxious, and entirely hateful, it’s not long before Annie offends Stretch and his girlfriend; she winds up stealing Stretch’s car and his food-delivery work phone, which brings her into contact with Angela (Angela Enahoro), a sick woman who Annie is asked to drive to another location. All the while Annie is live streaming her internet show “Band Car,” which is the feed the viewer is watching.

Look, you really need to go into the largely improvised DASHCAM with as little knowledge as possible, and just experience the film for yourself. I didn’t know much, I took the chance as it was part of my TIFF media screening options, and I got exactly what I’d been missing in my horror life – a balls to the wall, fucking insane viewing experience. I jumped and yelped multiple times, my mouth was constantly agape with what was happening on the screen. There’s lots of blood and shit (literally), along with a fair share of solid jump scares. All through DASHCAM, I squirmed, wondering what was around every corner. It was exactly what I’d been missing as a horror fan.

Filmed this past year while all of us have been dealing with COVID-19 and everything that’s come with it,, Savage and company have created a horror film that is absolutely of this very moment. Along with taking its place as a great piece of horror, reminiscent of classic found footage films like The Blair Witch Project and the first Paranormal Activity, I truly believe that part of the legacy of DASHCAM will be its telling and accurate depiction of the frightening divisions within society that the pandemic has brought to light.

DASHCAM is the scariest film I’ve seen this year, last year, and maybe even next year too.

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