film reel image

film reel image

Monday, August 17, 2020

Body Cam 2020 * * 1/2 Stars

Body Cam (2020) - IMDb


"Put your hands in the air now". "Put your hands on the vehicle now!" Ah, if it were only that easy on a routine traffic stop.

So OK, you got singer-songwriter Mary J. Blige in the lead. A delayed release of over a year. A supernatural twist. A scene with lots of cockroaches (ugh). Unedited material caught on camera (naturally). It's all present in 2020's original and nightmarish, Body Cam.

Anyway, Body Cam takes the unethical cop thriller and combines it with the gruesome, horror genre. Just think Black and Blue meets Candyman meets Deliver Us from Evil and you're on the right track. 

Slow-paced yet ominous with a pitch perfect musical score by Joseph Bishara (Dark Skies, The Conjuring), Body Cam builds tension, trepidation, and full-fledged uncertainty. This is all despite the comatose nature of the script and the actors who translate it.  

As something about a ghostly figure who gets caught on body cam footage taking nasty revenge on some crooked policemen, Body Cam revels in swallowing and darkened atmospherics. Set to a seedy Louisiana backdrop, the film projects like a numbing dream until it hits you with the good old blood and guts.  

Body Cam, which feels like a dusted off Scott Derrickson project, is worth a look. It could've been a ho-hum flick about police corruption or civil rights violations but it's clearly not. Unfortunately, Body Cam also makes you wonder if Mary J. (mentioned earlier) can actually carry a full-length movie. Yes she has been nominated for a past supporting Oscar but her line deliveries here seem wooden and kind of fleeting. As officer Renee Lomito-Smith, Blige goes through the motions with just a smidgen of screen presence to back her up. Hey, at least she looks believable holding a gun. Call her Dirty "Mary" without the glint. Rating: 2 and a half stars. 

Written by Jesse Burleson

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