Body Cam

Being a cop is never an easy job. Being a black female cop, well, that is just about impossible. Renee Lomito-Smith (Mary J. Blige – Mudbound, Trolls World Tour) has had a hard go of it of late. She lost a child and was put on suspension for six months after striking a civilian. Now she is coming back to work and, even though she says she needs to, I am sure her first day makes her think she should have stayed off longer.

Paired with rookie Danny Holledge (Nat Wolff – Paper Towns, The Fault in Our Stars), Renee is back on the night shift. First night back in uniform, while making their rounds they are called to locate the car of colleague Officer Kevin Ganning (Ian Casselberry – Get Out, Peppermint). Once they do find his abandoned squad car on a deserted street, the two officers begin to realize something awful has happened.

Ganning has died horribly and the footage from his camera will only play for Renee. Even though she has seen it she cannot believe or explain what she has seen. Soon a couple of other cops are killed in equally grisly fashion. Renee, though no one believes her, just knows she has to find former nurse, Tanessha Branz (Anika Noni Rose – Dreamgirls, The Princess and the Frog), as she has been on site for all of the attacks.

Steeped with creepiness and tension, Malik Vitthal’s (Imperial Dreams) Body Cam starts off with plenty of potential. An interesting combo of horror and social commentary. Walking the path carved out by fellow African-American director Jordan Peele. Unfortunately it does not live up to Peele’s standards.

After giving us some scares and knots in our stomachs Vitthal’s film begins to become rather predictable. Even worse it ventures into the territory of ridiculous. This has nothing to do with the acting of Blige, Rose or Wolff and everything to do with the execution/story.

Everything is done is such a heavy handed or clumsy way that it almost becomes laughable. For instance, the payoff is revealed way too early making the last third of the film foreseeable. My attention began to wander as a result. As well the social commentary aspect of it is poorly done. Yes, we are all done with cops shooting and killing innocent African-Americans, but another cops are corrupt and racist film that doesn’t bring anything new to the conversation is not necessary.

This is too bad because the visuals here are great as well as the requisite special effects. They more than hold up their ends of the bargain.