Clearly inspired by the Brian DePalma 1981 classic, BLOWOUT, where a movie sound editor accidentally records evidence that a car accident was actually murder, writer/director Christian Nilsson’s DASHCAM’s concept is loaded with technology but unfortunately marred by obvious budget limitations and a dull storyline. Nilsson, a video journalist, is best known for UNSUBSCRIBE, a Youtuber short horror film. See the film’s official trailer below.
YouTuber turned actor, Eric Tabach stars as a news editor who comes across the video footage of an accidental shooting during a traffic stop in DASHCAM movie.
Youtuber Eric Tabach (UNSUBSCRIBE) stars as Jake, a video editor who works from his tiny Manhattan apartment editing together news clips for a local TV channel. When star reporter Tim (Zachary Booth) sends Jake pieces of a news segment about an “accidental” shooting between a New York attorney general and a state trooper during a nighttime traffic stop, Jake must wait for the dashcam and bodycam footage to edit into the report.
Through a highly unlikely sequence of events, he is accidentally emailed instead a ZIP file containing contrary evidence that seems to imply conspiracy and murder.
If you don’t know what a ZIP file is, this movie is not for you.
If you’ve never seen video editing software, this movie is not for you.
A few years ago, an episode of MODERN FAMILY was praised for using only video and messaging software. Members of the family contacted each other over Skype, Facebook Messenger and other tools to show how a “modern family” might keep in touch with each other. The underrated 2014 horror, UNFRIENDED, was also set in a video chat room. There’s some of that in DASHCAM, as Jake answers video doorbells, chats with his girlfriend, and fends off the pushy Tim from the comfort of his desk.
DASHCAM is an extremely slow burn of a movie which seems to be an 88-minute demo of Adobe Premiere Pro editing software.
But most of Jake’s detective work involves him playing with video editing software, aligning digital footprints, amplifying and filtering sound files, and enhancing noisy sound and video images. What would have worked as short struggles to entertain as a full feature film. DASHCAM ends up being an 88-minute demo of Adobe Premiere Pro as we marvel at Jake’s dexterity with his computer.
Tabach does the best he can with his role as Jake the video editing nerd detective. There’s an extremely slow burn of tension as we the audience wonder why, at the first sign of trouble, Jake isn’t running out of his apartment to safety. But Jake is a little too naïve, focused more on using his software tools to unravel a mystery to a predictable conclusion.
His video editing job means that this film mostly takes place with Jake at his desk. That’s a great conceit of the film or a budget constraint since there are only two locations – the apartment and the park. If you think of some thrillers cleverly shot in one location like Ryan Reynold’s BURIED or Colin Farrell’s PHONE BOOTH, you’ll get an idea of DASHCAM’s problems. Without any clever camera work or extended story, we’re just watching his computer screen as he works with editing software wondering how can a thriller be so dull?
DASHCAM arrives On Demand, October 19, 2021. Watch the official trailer featuring Eric Tabach, below.