Movie Monday: Through a Different Lens: Cam (2018)

Even though the movie can be classified as a horror film, it also manages to humanize the world of sex work through the representation of a “camgirl” in a more normalized way. The film was written by Issa Mazzei who was a former “camgirl” and it hits home. Described as "After a look-alike takes over her account, a cam girl with a growing fan base sets out to identify the mysterious culprit and reclaim her own identity" by Netflix, the movie will surely leave you unsettled.

As the movie exposes its main character, it presents her in her camgirl persona, as "Lola" and it also presents her in the day to day as Alice. The narrative also focuses on her competitiveness and her ambition when it comes to her popularity and her rank. She has rules that she upholds to keep a distance between her and her viewers. Much like a YouTuber, she is very focused on climbing the ranks on her site. Through her perspective, we see her set on making it to the top 50. That’s when it all spirals out of control.

Her camming page gets hacked by a very eerie kind of “bug” that locks her out of her cam site account and keeps broadcasting her show live. This is terrifying because of the possible technology behind her site is unsettling and not too far beyond our reach. At first, she believes it’s just a glitch and that they’re just rerunning some of her past shows, but that is not the case. We see her desperation and her anxiety when she realizes she has lost her account, and that she’s losing money. She's losing control of her own life, and as she watches her account rise through the ranks while being hacked. Alice watches her account gain so much success without her having any part in it. This drives her into a state of slow rising anxiety and panicHaving a heroine like this one is unusual and amazing at the same time. A feminist undertone manages to shine through in the plot of this movie with the ordeals the main character faces. That climax at the end, when and how she takes control and takes back her life is one of the key things that sets this movie apart in how it portrays its main character. It doesn’t only highlight the fact she’s a sex worker, it also shows her as a woman that has been targeted and how she is left alone to face it, no help from anyone at all in the end. Her friends, her family, not even the police help her. The police shame her the line of work she’s in and excuses what is happening to her with what she does. One of the cops even tries to harass her.

This movie shows the discrimination, sexism and other hurdles women face in her line of work while also managing to be both a chilling and exciting thriller, and a great portrayal of a sex worker because it doesn’t portray her as fragile and hopeless being, but as a heroin that takes matters into her own hands and takes back her life. For these reasons and more, you should definitely watch this film!