Cam is a psychological thriller directed by Daniel Goldhaber and stars Madeline Brewer of the Black Mirror fame. It’s brought to us by Blumhouse Productions which also gave us Oculus and Truth Or Dare. Cam is the story of Alice, an online cam girl, who live-streams from her home studio. Just when things are looking good, her account is hijacked by her doppelganger. The movie leaves everyone with a bunch of questions, specifically around who the double was and why was she even there. Let’s talk about them. Here’s the film Cam explained, spoilers ahead.
Cam Plot Summary
Alice is an online cam girl, by the name Lola, and is gunning to be in the top 50 of the stripper girls in a site called FGL (Free Girls Live). Alice seems to have made a good deal of money – she owns a house and is shown casually shopping for a $5000 sofa set.
She has her ups and downs and eventually decides to do a duo show with her friend as she sits on what is called The Vibratron. As you can guess from the name, it’s not really what you would call a sensual experience for any woman who’s riding this. Alice Vibratrons her way into the Top 50.
Next day, she’s locked out of her account and realizes that a clone has taken over her live stream. Initially, she thinks it’s a software glitch that’s replaying some of her old videos. Soon she figures that the clone is actually live and can be interacted with. In the end, Alice tricks the clone into giving her password back and deletes her account. But she’s not done, she gets a new look, creates another profile, and starts all over again.
Cam: What’s happening? Who or What was the clone?
Well, there are a couple of thoughts that I have, but let’s get what the director intended out of the way. And also – NO, the FGL company is not killing off girls and replacing them with their virtual doubles.
Theory One: Cam: Artificial Intelligence and Identity Theft
This is what the director intended to portray. Alice has two personalities. Her real world self and her online persona. Several people in the world today, on social media, have an alternate personality, of someone they can’t be in real life. They get so comfortable being their online self that they prefer that over real social encounters. Alice is like that. She’s obsessed with her online persona and has little to no social life.
Why people are calling Cam an extended episode of Black Mirror?
For those who haven’t seen Black Mirror, it’s a series which draws an exaggeration on what technology can become in the future. In today’s world hacking and identity theft is a common thing. People go around masquerading as a different person, complete with profile pictures and everything. Now, what if a piece of software, with artificial intelligence, were to hack and steal personalities? Well, that is what happens to Alice in Cam. You see, extending on today’s technologies to present a threat of the future – Black Mirror. However, the movie is set in 2014 – 2015, and with today’s tech, it’s really not possible for AI to create new videos based on old footage at runtime while responding to chats.
Who is Barney?
He’s one of the voyeurs who’s a fan of Lola. Alice decides to meet him so she can get some information the other girls on the site – he’s hung out with a bunch of them. She figures that:
- SarahBear never showed up to Barney’s meet.
- BabyGirl is from Georgia.
- BabyGirl was once a prom queen.
Barney turns on the FGL app and notices Lola is live. He assumes Alice is a con-girl impersonating Lola and attacks her. Alice manages to escape.
What happened to BabyGirl? Who is Tinker?
Alice finds out that BabyGirl, the girl in the #1 position, is actually dead, she died in a car accident. Yet she has been making collaborative videos with other top girls on the site. Again, BabyGirl was not murdered, she just died because of an unfortunate accident. Alice also notices that a person by the name Tinker is a top friend to all the people who have appeared on videos with BabyGirl. She sees Tinker stalking her early on and locates him. Alice finds out that Tinker already knew that Lola is a virtual AI clone online and that many of the cam girls, not just on FGL, are AI clones. He also claims that he spends so much time with these cam girls that he can guess who is going to be hacked next. The AI software cuts into the girls’ account, and then impersonates them and carries forward. Why does the AI tech do this? Well, programmers are probably doing this for fun and to make money off the account.
So that’s it, no murder conspiracy, no demons, no split personalities. This is a case of a hacker AI program stealing identities off the internet. Alice has uploaded a bulk of her videos and footage from her home. This is enough for the AI to put together new videos and keep the show going. Alice and many other cam girls have been locked out of their own accounts.
Theory Two: Cam: Alice is in a Coma
Well, this is pure theory because the director has not even remotely hinted anything like this. Consider this, during the Vibratron session, Alice finds things to be blurring out. We don’t know what the Vibratron really is, but it sounds like it can cause a lot of damage to inner woman parts. Alice wakes up on the next day and finds her hacked account and the doppelganger. What if Alice got hurt during the Vibratron session and bled excessively? I know, you’re thinking – “get out, how can a woman go into a coma from being excessively pleasured?”. Well, have you seen this episode of 1000 Ways to Die where a woman dies by making love to a carrot? Yeah. Shit happens. What if the Vibratron sends Alice into a coma, and the rest of the film that we see are merely inside the fragile mind of Alice.
- Her fears coming true – the one thing she’s been gunning to do, to get to the top, is stolen from her … by her.
- Her vanity is taken away because her double is breaking all the rules she follows as a code.
- Her mother is oddly positive about her porn career and her online personality – the acceptance she hopes for.
- Her brother hates her for who she is.
- The dates and timelines of events (like BabyGirl’s death) are not consistent in the news clippings.
Alice’s consciousness is sent twirling down a nightmarish path that she battles to conquer.
Theory Three: Cam: Alice In Wonderland
Okay, this is not my theory, but I happened to find it as a comment by one Anna Mika. I think it’s a gem. Too bad the filmmakers didn’t work harder on these lines to create a fitting climax to the film. Here it is:
I believe this movie is a modern day rendition of Alice in Wonderland. In this case though, "Wonderland" is actually an online life. It shows how one can get so caught up in an online presence that you lose touch with what's real and what's just a fake persona. She became too obsessed with raising her ranking and lost herself: Her name is Alice, she lives on Wonderdale street. The first username she uses to confront the AI is Mad_Hatter, then it's MrTeapot. When she confronts the AI in the end, she's in a red heart bra, like the queen of hearts. The second movie to Alice in Wonderland is Alice Through the Looking Glass, and she confronts the AI in the end through a mirror. And to be honest, there may not even be an AI, it may just be Alice losing her mind in wonderland. This is why nothing makes sense in the movie, none of the dates or distances add up. Also, this may be a stretch, but she meets Barney at a hotel at 666 Bradley Blvd, and then Barney's Hardware is on Elm St, like The Nightmare on Elm Street. Could be connected to how in the Disney movie of Alice in Wonderland, it's shown at the end that she was just dreaming the whole time. (Or this could mean Barney is evil and has something to do with it)
Again, as impressive as the thought is, it is merely a fan theory.
Cam Movie: Ending Explained
Alice decides to take on her duplicate persona in an online chat room. Now, remember, the AI personality is not evil. It’s merely impersonating Alice. The AI has no clue who it is chatting with, it can’t see outside of the computer. When Alice gets on a video chat, the chat-room is confused seeing there are two Lolas. Alice challenges Lola to a game of “Monkey see, monkey do”. Whoever does it better, wins and the winner gets to pick a prize.
Alice bashes her head causing her nose to break and bleed. When the AI Lola does this, it takes a couple of seconds to render the blood. The rest of the chat room votes for Alice and she wins. As her prize, Alice asks for the account’s password. When Lola gives it to her, Alice logs in and deletes her account. Just when you think the ordeal would break Alice’s obsession with the online world, she just gets a makeover and gets back online with a brand new persona called EvaBot. Well, common sense would tell you that once you get back up on top, the AI is bound to steal your identity all over again. Alice doesn’t seem to care. Which is why I thought this would have been fitting to be seen as Alice’s eternal struggle in her head with no salvation.
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Barry is a technologist who helps start-ups build successful products. His love for movies and production has led him to write his well-received film explanation and analysis articles to help everyone appreciate the films better. He’s regularly available for a chat conversation on his website and consults on storyboarding from time to time.
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