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DASHCAM (2021)

Directed and written by Christian Nilsson.
Starring Eric Tabach, Larry Fessenden, Giorgia Whigham, Zachary Booth, Giullian Yao Gioiello, Noa Fisher, Scott Aiello, Jacob A. Ware, Rich Vience

News editor and aspiring reporter Jake (Eric Tabach) is set to receive official footage from a police officer’s dashcam where the officer exchanged gunfire with a former Attorney General Lieberman (Larry Fessenden) after a routine traffic stop. Public opinion veers towards conspiracy as Lieberman was outspoken about police violence and other controversial issues. Jake mistakenly receives a controversial set of files indicating that there was, in fact, a cover-up. Tension and paranoia intensifies as it seems Jake is being watched and urged to delete the file and not report it, but Jake continues to seek the truth.

Not exactly horror, but DASHCAM succeeds at being a delightful venture into conspiracy laden paranoia. Reminiscent of films like BLOW OUT and THE CONVERSATION, there is a lot of attention to the technical aspects of dissecting footage, clearing up audio, and other editing features Jake uses in his day to day. Given the fact that his phone is ringing off the hook and a stranger is knocking on his door, it does seem like someone is trying to cover up something and that there is an urgency to make sure that evidence doesn’t show up. So while the film is mired in the techno stuff, with much screen time to files being downloaded, multiple windows being opened and closed on Jake’s computer, Jake is such an expert in this field that none of the scenes drag as he clicks from one program to the next, revealing a new layer of secrets and lies.

It helps that Eric Tabach is a pretty solid actor. There’s an intensity to his performance that really sells the feeling of that need to look over one’s shoulder. He’s slightly acidic and seeping with millennial angst, but still manages to be likable and he’d better be as the film focuses mainly on his face for the entire runtime.

It’s always great to see Larry Fessenden lending his talents to small roles in indie films. He truly is a touchstone for all things indie horror. His appearance in a film is usually a stamp of quality if you’re a horror film. DASHCAM never reaches the deafening levels of suspicion and paranoia of a ROSEMARY’S BABY or EYES WIDE SHUT, but it does tell a tense story torn from today’s headlines. The manic acting meshes with the rapid fire work Jake does, making this less of a relaxing movie, but an intense one. Sure the end is rather predictable, but this one had me nervously tapping my foot all the way through.

Check out the trailer here!!