Dir. Steph Du Melo
Reviewer. Martyn Wakefield
In 2013, writer and director Steph Du Melo created a zombie outbreak film that studied the immediate release of a viral infection and it’s effects on the public, all filmed in a documentary style. C.A.M. is a throwback to a golden era of horror that blends found footage with documentary material to create a sense of grounded reality with the unfolding horrors on screen. For the most part it is effective at bringing together a world that is real, probably too real and can easily be comparable with the more a-list movie, THE BAY.
Since 2020 however, the world of infectious diseases hits home more than it would have done in previous years and as such it’s very difficult to take entertainment from this fiction when it’s grounded in a sense of knowledge of how the world really would react. While the films message is laboured on very thick in the films final half hour (even with a unnecessary and messy final 15 minute epilogue) it’s fair to say this is complete fiction and any sense of personal finger pointing should be left at the opening shot, especially noting that this is somewhat predictive as the film was made in 2013. Ironically the first goggle entry for “contagious aggressive mutations” comes up with a Covid related article.
The amateur theatrics captured do the film a real justice in making it feel authentic rather than a seen-it-all-before zombie outbreak and there are some tense scenes involved, especially where the camera crew (especially the lead played by Jamie Longlands) and response unit collide.
The use of found footage is a reminder that the sub-genre still has life and while it can hide a low budget, actually has an effective tool of putting the audience in the centre of the action, feeling more immerse in the unrelenting terror. Cutting sound and innovative blended use of audio interviews work in the films favour to give an authentic field of vision to the action and while the sound design is far to cinematic for this type of film, it is never distracting.
Du Melo’s zombie film is a testament to his ability to tell stories and bring to life horror on a budget making him one to watch and hopefully a director who has much more to tell.