Cam is a modern horror thriller that uses science-fiction elements to examine identity theft and online safety. In addition to being incredibly creepy, the film also portrays its protagonist, Alice, a cam model, in a positive light.
Here’s the synopsis from Netflix: 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.
Yikes! Also, relevant in many ways in today’s world.
According to HyperAllergic, Isa Mazzei, Cam’s screenplay writer, called up her webcam model memories while writing the film’s screenplay. Mazzei explained to HyperAllergic that although she wrote Alice by pulling from her own life, she pulled from the emotions “she felt while camming, rather than specific events.”
“For example, my sister knew I was a cam girl and was very supportive, and I put some of that into Alice’s relationship with [her brother],” Mazzei said. “But I did have a viewer who moved to my hometown, though he was very different from [the one in the movie].”
“And [one scene came from] waking up and seeing myself on Pornhub, labeled ‘frizzy-haired cute girl’ or ‘frizzy-haired pale girl’ and watching my body no longer be tied to me in any way whatsoever,” she continued.
“That feeling of violation and alienation from my own body was really terrifying. Translate that feeling into the horror genre, and it becomes Lola [Alice’s cam model persona].”
We recently reached out to a few cam models to find out their thoughts on Cam. The following are their thoughts.
Note: If you haven’t seen “CAM” yet, proceed with caution — the following contains spoilers! Stream the movie on Netflix now.
“When I first saw that there was going to be a horror movie based on a cam model, I couldn’t believe my eyes,” Ginger Madison said. “It was so exciting to see a combination of two things that I love: horror movies and cam modeling. I watched Cam as soon as it went up on Netflix and I was on the edge of my seat the entire time—I just kept cheering Alice on!”
Madison added that she related to Alice’s character because the film viewer can see that Alice truly loves her job. “YES, sex work IS work,” Madison said. “It also showcases how being a cam model is not as easy of a job as some people make it out to be.”
“Not only does she have to perform shows which involve a lot of planning, but she is also juggling a double life, which is very stressful, and has to constantly switch between two different personas. As Alice, she is trying to live a ‘normal’ life, but as Lola, her true self shines—once she hits that broadcast button, she can really express herself without all of the constant judgment,” Madison explained.
Madison also enjoyed that Alice survives everything she’s put through. “Not only did Alice defeat the evil force who stole her identity, but she actually made it out alive,” she says. “Let’s face it, sex workers are normally a joke and usually get killed off in the movies. I think she actually came out stronger than ever!”
Madison added that the movie turned out to be inspirational for her in a “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” mindset. She added that it also made her think: “We put ourselves out there on the internet for the whole world to see— you NEVER know who could be watching and what plans they may have in store for you.”
DevilnotAngel said that she thinks Cam has some real moments that are “set up in a fantastic world.”
She stated that cam models can be competitive and mean towards each other. “You can expect members to show up at your door smiling,” she added.
However, she thinks the film makes it look like making money as a cam model is easy. “No one [makes] the money so easily,” DevilnotAngel said. She also added that there’s no mention of her editing her work or planning her shows. Also, there weren’t as many “beggars” as there are IRL.
“Sorry, but members aren’t really that nice,” she said. “The only members that were pretty accurately depicted were those who showed up in her real life.”
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So proud of our amazing writer! Check out a new interview with her about deleting the male gaze in film. Link in bio. • @isaiswrong This piece is fucking killer. It makes me sound smart, the author really digs into how to not make a problematic film; and also there’s a hot picture of me. Thank you @floodmagazine.
It sounds like Cam is an interesting step towards more accurate/less disrespectful representation in the media. Though the film doesn’t present the full scope of the webcam work experience — which, admittedly seems like a challenge — it doesn’t slaughter the sex worker or even make her out to be an unseemly character.
A story about identity theft and online labor written by a women who has done the work of webcam is a pretty positive bit of media. We’re impressed!