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Saturday, May 23, 2020

Review: Body Cam

Director: Malik Vitthal
Screenplay: Nicholas McCarthy and Richmond Riedel
Year: 2020

Abuse of power by the police, especially in the unjustified murder of civilians, has caused uproars in many places around the world at several moments in time. In the United States, this has been a recurring topic in the last years, to which the racial component is added. “Body Cam”, the second full-length feature of director Malik Vitthal (“Imperial Dreams”), uses this social issue as the central topic of its plot sprinkled with some horror elements. 

Renee is a policewoman who recently got reincorporated in the police force after being some time off after losing her son. During her first day back patrolling the streets, she answers a call for backup from a fellow partner but when she arrives, she finds him dead. Renee decides to start investigating the case on her own and starts discovering the supernatural forces behind the incident.

At the beginning of “Body Cam” the two elements that in essence make up the plot are exposed: the supernatural part and the racial and the abuse of power by the police. From these scenes, it seems like the script from Nicholas McCarthy (“The Prodigy”) and Richmond Riedel (“Target Practice”) wants to make an impactful social statement, but as the movie progresses it dilutes more and more until it ends in something mundane. The supernatural aspect is even worse, as it seems like it will offer something innovative, but ends up being underwhelming and a horror cliché. 

It might seem like the plot is the worst part of the movie, but even with its issues, and that maybe I as a viewer was expecting more from it, but it really is fairly interesting. The real problem of this movie is the pace at which the story is told. Luckily, Mary J. Blige (“Scream: The TV Series”) does a great job as Renee and this makes it easier to tolerate the long scenes in which we see her investigating different places without absolutely nothing happening.

In contrast, her novice partner Danny, interpreted by Nat Wolff (“Death Note”), does not have the same charisma at hand and his character is affected by how it is used to expose information or to tie certain events, but it is not developed as an important character in the story or even one of those that you grow to like to later hate in a future revelation. In this same fashion several characters are introduced, who seem like they will have a more important role in the movie, but that could have been taken away completely without any consequence. 

"Body Cam" proposes to be innovative at the beginning, but along the way it forgets that idea and deflates its social component until it is one with little impact, as well as suffering from horror clichés and ending up in an underwhelming and predictable outcome. It has some interesting scenes where the supernatural aspect shines and it is the author of some gruesome deaths, but these scenes are scarce and drowned by the slow scenes where nothing happens. From dream sequences that provide nothing to the plot and are only there to provide jump scares to characters with no transcendence in the plot. "Body Cam" fails in too many basic aspects and wastes an idea that could have been an interesting horror movie.

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