DASHCAM: Five Things To Know About Rob Savage’s Host Follow-Up

DASHCAM – exclusive

by Dan Jolin |
Updated on

After last year’s hit Zoom horror Host, writer-director Rob Savage is back withDASHCAM, his first movie for powerhouse production company Blumhouse – re-teaming him with co-writers Jed Shepherd and Gemma Hurley for another digital dive into terror. Though it's another pandemic-based found-footage movie involving a demonic encounter, Savage promises it's a very different bucket of blood... Here’s what you need to know going in (and nothing you don’t want to know) ahead of its BFI London Film Festival debut.

1) It's a full-on splatter movie

With its Zoom-call aesthetic, Host was lo-fi laptop horror. But with the production might of Blumhouse behind them this time, Savage and co splash out on the splashy stuff in DASHCAM. “It felt like we could have fallen into the trap of making something too similar to Host, so I wanted to do something totally different. I wanted to do a splatter movie,” he explains. “I said to all my heads of department, 'We've got Blumhouse money now. What's the thing you've always wanted to do but nobody's ever let you?' And (special effects makeup designer) Dan Martin told me all these splatter gags that he's never been allowed to do. We had this gleeful feeling of, 'We've hit it big, let's just push it as far as we can go.' One reviewer described DASHCAM as 'Sam Raimi on crystal meth', which I liked.”

2) It's shot entirely on iPhone

It might be a bigger movie, but DASHCAM still finds the filmmakers toying with ways of creating terror through technology. “Host was such a lovely experience, where we didn't have a huge team of people and the girls shot on their own laptops. So I wanted the cast to be able to shoot this movie,” Savage says. “The benefit of shooting on iPhone is that it does all this weird, grainy, glitchy loveliness that we wanted to lean into, and it gives us the freedom of improvisation. We were shooting off a few pages of outline and discovering it every day. If we wanted to suddenly shoot over there, we didn't want to have to spend an hour moving unit."

The more interesting version of this film is the one that we bend to meet Annie Hardy's extreme personality.

3) Its main character is a real musician

While the twists and turns of the film should be kept under wraps, we can tell you it centres on confrontational musician Annie Hardy, playing a version of herself. “Jed, one of our co-writers, produces Annie Hardy's podcast, and he'd seen her show ‘Band Car’, which is where she takes random words from commentators and improvises a freestyle rap while she drives around LA at 3am,” says Savage. “I thought that would be a really cool basis for a found-footage movie, though the original plan was to have an actress play Annie's part. But after making Host I went back and watched Annie's ‘Band Car’ videos and realised the more interesting version of this film is the one that we bend to meet Annie's extreme personality. She's an old-school ’90s troll, really. She'll be the first to admit it!"


4) It features a great performance from a pilates instructor

"Angela Enahoro [who plays Annie's mysterious passenger] is somebody who's never acted before, a friend-of-a-friend pilates instructor who really threw herself into this. She levitated on wires, she went underwater, she was the most committed person on the entire set,” teases Savage. “I think she's a revelation."

5) It's already proving divisive

Having already screened at the Toronto International Film Festival, the first reactions to the film have been polarising – which hasn’t surprised Savage. “People who love it really love it, and the people who hate it really hate it,” he says. “It's a movie with two characters on polar-opposite ends of the political spectrum, with the character of Annie being very boisterous and aggravating when it comes to Covid restrictions. But we made this movie at the end of 2020, before the vaccine, before things got so much more politicised and vitriolic. I think that's meant the movie is more contentious, but also more interesting.”

Empire – November 2021 cover crop

*Read more about DASHCAM in the new Ghostbusters: Afterlife issue of Empire, on sale now and available to purchase online here. DASHCAM screens this October at the BFI London Film Festival.

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