We recently reviewed Lawless and noted that the based on true facts movie might have been better if the makers had followed reality a bit less like a documentary. With The Bay we now get the exact opposite.
Barry Levinson, director of top titles like Sleepers and Rain Man, takes on the “found footage” genre and this with some sort of fake documentary on a small town in America that gets decimated by an ecological disaster. The result: mediocre across the board.
By means of taped footage (amateur images, police cameras, surveillance footage, facetime, …) we get to see how the 4th of July celebration in Chesapeake Bay turns into a blood bath as larvae of a by pollution mutated prehistoric creature (isopods) managed to infect the drink water and as such managed to get inside the bodies of the inhabitants in town to grow out to full blown specimen that chew their way to the outside. We follow a young journalist who reports on the festivities as they turn into a gigantic slaughterfest, a couple who are travelling on a boat towards the town to join the festivities there with their family, two scientists who are researching the pollution in the water, a doctor who’s trying to help his patients and is in direct contact with the CDC (Centre of Disease Control), and two cops who are patrolling the town to suddenly be confronted with the results of the outbreak. Next to that there’s also plenty of other amateur videos that pass by and contain so-called background information.
Levinson, not the smallest name in the business, however, doesn’t manage to make it a convincing movie. A complete outbreak in one day that results in hundredds of deaths, mutated prehistoric creatures, information that wasn’t passed on beforehand, all kinds of things that weren’t properly investigated, tons of dead fish that pop up out of nowhere, … there are just too many coincidences to keep the story standing. And then we haven’t talked about some of the symptoms that pass by. As such, we’re still wondering why these isopods seem to have a particular taste for tongues.
No, The Bay seems most of all a tryout by Levinson – who didn’t release many big titles in recent years – to jump on the bandwagon of the latest horror hype and tries to make it more than it is by wrapping it in an ecologic jacket. All in all The Bay is a very mediocre movie that might be fun for fans of the genre but for the rest be quickly forgotten.
As always with “found footage” films the quality of the image is very average but this is a deliberate choice. As such there’s little to say about it and the same goes for the sound. Decent but definitely not spectacular.