26th Jan2022

‘C.A.M.’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Charlotte Curwood, Tom Ware, Jamie Langlands, Michael Swatton, Peter Rayfield, Daniel Jeary, David Stopp, Robert Daniel Kolscar, Roger Wyatt | Written by Steph Du Melo | Directed by Larry Downing, Steph Du Melo

When “Disease Control” are alerted that food at a local meat processing plant has been contaminated by a rare virus, trainee tactical police are sent in by the Cyber-tri-Tech Bio Company to evacuate the workers with a civilian camera crew to document the operation. They find the virus has infected the workers that are displaying extreme violent behaviour. When all is not what it appears and the infected start to murder each other, they realise that it could have disastrous and deadly repercussions on a world wide scale.

Sold as a “found footage” movie, C.A.M. posits that what we see was found in 2013 and compiled by Larry Downing and Steph Du Melo, rather than directed by the duo. Compiled in such a way that we get narration, voiceover interviews with people purportedly involved. The film opens, and is given context by an audio interview between the medical personnel that leaked the footage we watch and an alt-media interviewer (as he dubbed on-screen) – C.A.M., which is an acronym for “Contagious, Aggressive, Mutations”, opens in much the same way Du Melo’s As A Prelude to Fear did; all action! In this case with a strong, aggressive and bullet-ridden showdown between the titular mutations and the police.

We then take a trip back in time and meet Jo (Charlotte Curwood) and Kyle (Tom Ware), a camera crew who eventually accompany the police to evacuate workers from a meat-packing plant that has been struck by a parasitic infection; and infection that turns the workers into violent killers and NOT the mildly infected, glassy-eyed flu-like infection the doctor in the police briefing states. A police briefing that we, the audience, know is probably bullsh*t given what we saw in the opening.

So we know the infection is worse than the doctor states but, as we learn as C.A.M. goes on, there’s a lot more to this story than meets the eye. A story that’s told in both shaky handheld cam from our two-person camera crew AND the helmet cams worn by the police officers. This story – it turns out – is far most close to home than you’d expect In fact, you could say that this particular story is very pertinent. VERY pertinent.

Why? Well after a ridiculous amount of footage of cops wandering around, talking to each other and the camera crew, we get to the crux of C.A.M. It’s a metaphor for the current pandemic, feeding into a myriad of conspiracy theories regarding the “truth”, about vaccines, about the real reason for the infection. OK, so this infection might be totally different to the current pandemic but the crazy anti-tax, global new world order conspiracies are just the same. Seriously, anti-vaxxers and tin-foil hat wearing folks will LOVE this film!

As for film fans, well there’s nothing new here and C.A.M. is worlds apart from the quality of the just-reviewed As a Prelude to Fear. It’s almost like they’ve been made by two completely different people. Yes, I get filmmakers might want to explore genres but when you come out with something as well-made as Du Melo’s other film, a Giallo-esque British horror, then C.A.M.. is a massive, MASSIVE, step backwards. If I’d have seen this film first I would have had my doubts about giving Prelude a go… Speaking of which, C.A.M. looks to have been filmed at the same location as As a Prelude to Fear, at the same rundown farm in the middle of nowhere!

* 1/5

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