Dashcam Review: Crash and burn

We review Host’s Rob Savage’s ‘screen-life’ horror follow-up, Dashcam.


Shot and seemingly set during late 2020, Rob Savage’s Host follow-up, Dashcam, is a similarly short horror that also uses a ‘screen-life’ aesthetic.

Sick of L.A. pandemic lifestyle, popular live-streamer Annie (Annie Hardy) flies to England to visit a friend, only for her trolling and disrespect of public safety protocols to get her booted from the flat. Swiping the friend’s car and phone, Annie ends up escorting a mysteriously ill passenger through one wild night, all while keeping her show running.

Annie isn’t an entirely fictional creation, as Hardy portrays a heightened version of her real-life persona. Frontwoman of band Giant Drag, Hardy really does livestream ‘Band Car’, promoted in the film as “The Internet’s #1 Live Improvised Music Show Broadcast from a Moving Vehicle”. Various social media posts of hers during the Covid pandemic also resemble views spouted by Dashcam’s Annie.

Your mileage may vary as to whether giving a real-life ‘anti-vaxxer’ a lead role in a film where they essentially play themselves – spouting similar far right-wing dog-whistles to what they regularly put online, including digs at Black Lives Matter among other topics – counts as platforming those views. Your mileage will definitely vary as to how funny any of her quips, which have the air of improvisation to them, actually are.

But purely speaking in terms of Annie’s success as a horror protagonist, the film’s attempts at unnerving fail because of the character’s troll nature. You absolutely don’t have to like a horror film’s lead, but after a certain point in a work that’s clearly aiming for genuine frights, you have to feel they’re actually scared of the scenario they’re in, not just annoyed.

It’s a shame because brief shots do instil dread, thanks to strong stunt work and practical effects. But as a cumulative experience, Dashcam’s like the worst segment in a V/H/S anthology film padded out to feature-length.

Dashcam was seen and reviewed at the London Film Festival.