Dashcam Ending Explained and the Mythology You Don’t See on Screen
Angela, The Parasite, Host Easter Eggs and more Dashcam nuggets.
Sometimes knowing the why and wherefore of something slightly spoils a horror film. Why does Michael Myers kill? No reason. What exactly is The Thing in The Thing (it’s a thing). WFT is THAT at the end of [REC]? (Well actually that kind of does get explained by the sequels, but wasn’t it more fun when we didn’t know?)
Rob Savage’s Dashcam, his follow up to Zoom-based lockdown horror Host is in some ways one such movie. It’s a barrage of images and sound transmitted via protagonist Annie’s dashcam and her mobile phone. We the audience don’t really understand exactly what’s going on anymore than Annie does, we just know it’s gross and horrible!
But if you’re someone who after the fact does like to delve a little deeper into the mythology of what’s going on, we’re here for you.
Dashcam follow right-wing internet a-hole Annie Hardy (played by Hardy) who travels to the UK from LA to visit former band mate Stretch (Amar Chadha-Patel). But when two fall out (because Hardy is awful) she nicks the car he uses as a delivery driver and accepts a food pick up (intending to eat it herself). But when she arrives the cafe is closed and the owner offers her a large sum of money to take an elderly lady called Angela, who appears to be seriously unwell, to a specific address. Annie reluctantly accepts. But Angela is not what she appears to be and the night takes a turn for the weird, dragging Annie, and Stretch (who’s tracked her down via the live stream she is broadcasting from her dashcam) via a forest and a fairground to very dark places.
So what’s going on? We spoke to director Rob Savage who gave us some answers.
The Clue Is In The Comments
While Annie is live streaming a series of comments appear to the left of the screen. It’s a slightly overwhelming device and it’s not possible to read the comments at the same time as watching the action, which leads to a sort of dual experience depending which you opt for.
“Part of the idea was to make a movie where the main character really wasn’t interested in the movie that she was in and the plot was really secondary to just her bulldozing her way through all these scenes that weren’t really making sense to her,” Savage explains. “The commenters are really being like armchair detectives the whole way through, they actually crack the plot. So if you’re interested in feeling the movie you can watch what’s on screen, if you’re interested in understanding the movie, then the commenters kind of figure it out.”
It all adds to the sense of mounting anxiety which is something Savage embraces.
“I just wanted this movie on every front to be a little too much. You know, a bit overwhelming and maybe a bit too much to take in in one viewing and, and also just like anxiety inducing the whole way through. And a little frustrating sometimes when you’re flicking back and forth,” he says. “It’s kind of meant to be information overload, which, again, maybe isn’t the best pitch for a feature film, but the idea was that there’d be enough to intrigue you to come back for a second second viewing where you could follow that.”
Who or what is Angela?
Throughout the course of the movie we understand that Angela is in fact a 16-year-old girl who has been possessed by some sort of entity which has caused her to age very rapidly. Angela’s mother is the woman with the gun trying to kill Annie and Stretch and the Ariana Grande tattoo in Angela is the first indicator to Annie that something is seriously up.
By the end we learn that the address Annie was supposed to take Angela to houses a cult. Savage explains more about what the idea behind that was.
“The mythology that we had was like there’s this cult which worships this ancient demon that needs young bodies to inhabit, like a hermit crab,” he says. “The problem is it just uses them up really fast and then it needs another one. And so Angela is actually this missing child who went missing months before and the demon got put inside her and it shrivelled her up and turned her into an old woman. This cult are looking to put it into Annie as the next host.”
This was the mythology Savage and his co-writers Jed Shepherd and Gemma Hurley planned, but this is never spelled out on screen.
“None of that really plays out apart from these little hints but the commenters are constantly finding missing person reports or ‘this does look a lot like Angela this little girl’ and just following a kind of string of clues,” he says.
What’s going on with ‘the parasite’ at the end?
At the end of the movie, after Stretch is dead (killed by Angela), the cult members have slit their own throats and Annie has killed Angela, out of Angela’s mouth comes a gross parasitic creature, identified on IMDb as The Parasite, played by James Swanson (a Host alumnus – of which there are many – more later).
“We were shooting in this unused underground tunnel, which actually I spotted in The Batman recently, they use it as part of Batman’s underground lair,” explains Savage. “It was our underground dumping ground for all the people who had been murdered before by the cult. And it was just covered in piss and cold and miserable. And James was in this horrible heavy suit, which meant that his legs were bound together and he couldn’t see out of the costume so he was just miserable. We shot that for like a day. And I think it was the worst experience of James’s life. He’s very proud of it. The fact that the creature moves in this in such a kind of creepy coherent way is down to James’s perseverance.”
Savage gives us a bit more on the background of the parasite.
“It’s the embodiment of this demonic thing that the cult are worshipping and the idea was to make it kind of parasitic,” he says. “To give this idea that when it’s in Angela, Angela can be strong and she can throw people across rooms. She can be a force to be reckoned with, but when it’s out of its shell and out of its human host, it’s a little weaker and slimier and embryonic and basically, it’s something that Annie can bash in with a keyboard.”
Which she does.
Host Easter Eggs
If you’re a fan of Host there are some nice throw backs to look out for. Many of the Host cast pop up in the movie. Jemma Moore plays Stretch’s girlfriend Gemma, Seylan Baxter is the cafe owner who sends Annie off with Angela, Emma Louise Webb is the air hostess at the start and Haley Bishop is on the intercom at the airport.
Another cute throwback is Caroline Ward and Teddy Linard who are the bride and groom in the car accident.
“In Host they used to have a bit of a fling, and we had this idea that they ran off and got married. In the scene of the diner in Dashcam while Angela is kind of psychically flicking through the TV, you can see there’s a news station that’s playing a plea from Caroline’s dad, Pat, who was featured in Host, on the TV asking for any information on the whereabouts of his daughter.”
If you go for a second watch focusing on the comments you’ll get some extra easter eggs, there too.
“There’s a bunch of host references in the comments with people talking about that weird thing that happened last summer on Zoom,” Savage says.
Did you read the comments? Did you spot anything else cool? Let us know in our comments!