In past reviews, I’ve written about the problems with poor subtitles on foreign films. Improper use of language serves as a distraction from the comedy or drama and makes the experience worse. I love the English language. It’s my lifeblood and my livelihood. So when I see it mangled, I get angry. When it comes to foreign films, I can at least forgive the fundamental language barrier. It’s the reality of a love of foreign films, and I am willing to cut some slack.
But though Cam2Cam takes place in Bangkok, the film is in English and was ostensibly written by someone whose first language was English. I say ostensibly because I have trouble believing that’s true.
Then again, what was I supposed to expect from a movie called “Cam2Cam”?
Director: Joel Soisson
Release Date: August 22, 2014 (Theatrical/VOD)
Here’s a bad sign: IMDb does not credit its writer/director with Cam2Cam‘s script. It only mentions Marie Gautier and Davy Sihali, who were behind the original story it’s based on. Only in the actual credits did I see “Screenplay by Joel Soisson.”
Without bothering to fact-check this, I’m going to guess that Mr. Soisson is at least 90 years old. I say this because it seems to me that there is no way he has ever had a discussion with another human being on the internet. I have a 14 year old sister who types primarily in abbreviations, but the non-English that Cam2Cam‘s characters use during their chat sessions is a whole other level of stupid.
At least 80% of the words are misspelled. That’s not an exaggeration. If anything, it’s a lowball. For the most part, they’re the typical bullshit abbreviations: numbers instead of letters and cutting words down to their most basic phonic requirements. These things are typical, but no less terrible. I’ve been spending the majority of my time on the internet for the better part of the 21st century, and I’ve never come across people (outside of maybe YouTube comments) who have such a blatant disregard for basic syntax.
But it’s not just that. Because I could imagine a 90+ year old man who had seen a Fox News special on the digital degradation of language going too far in an attempt to seem “hip” or something. The issue is when it goes from abbreviation to straight up misspelling (there are multiple, not all of them intentional) or something weirder. The bit of “writing” that turned my anger into righteous indignation was the following:
“4 a nanosecond. now goin 2 bed”
It doesn’t matter what this is in response to, but you should immediately understand what is so completely ludicrous about this line. Nanosecond? Seriously? She can’t type out “four” or “two,” finish “going,” or use capitals and consistent punctuation, but she has the gall to type out “nanosecond” instead of “sec”? No one would do that.
No one writes like that.
I hate this.
You may think I’m spending way too much time harping on this, but you’d be wrong, because the entire first twenty minutes of this “horror” film takes place in a chatroom and features one girl being “scared” by some other person who is saying terrifying things like “LOL.” The creepy music clashes with the laughable dialogue and makes for a film that completely misses the mark. It’s like a cat walked across the writer’s keyboard and he just left it as it was. Drama doesn’t work when two twenty-somethings are typing like toddlers.
And while the spoken dialogue is better, it’s still pretty bad. People give long, expository speeches explaining their worldview; everyone just seems to know really fundamental things about each other because it’s narratively convenient; and they string together words that don’t quite work constantly.
Nobody speaks like an actual human being. No one. (And no one really reacts to things like a human being either. Everyone’s exceedingly stupid.) Going back to my theory that the writer is very old and watches Fox News, here is the moment that really clinched it for me, even more than the legitimately infuriating “4 a nanosecond. now goin 2 bed.” One particularly verbose character is describing the personality of a guy who decapitated at least four women. And his description made me want to throw my TV through a window. He said: “He was like one of those hardcore gamer types. The ones that always have to be on level 10 even when everyone else is playing on level 5.
“Do you know what I mean?”
No, Mr. Soisson, I don’t. And neither does anybody else.
– Cam2Cam, for the most part, is nice to look at, though much of that is because Bangkok is a fascinating location.
– I was warned that the first 20 minutes were the film’s worst, and I’d agree with that. The whole thing could have started after that first scene and it would have made for a better film. A couple of events may not have made perfect sense, but it’s not like they all make sense now.
– For example, the twist ending. Totally didn’t see it coming, but after four seconds of reflection I realized it made no sense.
– There are some things that sorta made sense that did actually surprise me, so that was kinda cool.
– There’s a closeup of a tiny flaccid penis out of nowhere. So there’s your warning.
– The main character “unintentionally” places her laptop in such a way that it creates a perfectly symmetrical frame so that she can be watched through her webcam in a cinematically pleasing way. Completely unacceptable.
– Cam2Cam‘s poster was approximately 70% of the reason I wanted to see it. Unfortunately, the image of a badass underwear model wielding an axe of justice is not actually in the film. Shame.