By: Darryl M. Yo (Two Beers) –
Finally, a fresh take in the “found footage” horror genre. This movie is “bugged” out in the literal sense of the word. If an infestation of bugs is on your list of worst fears then this movie will freak you out!
The Bay takes you for a ride of widespread panic as we watch an unexplained and fast-spreading outbreak takeover the unsuspecting town of Claridge. The community members try to enjoy their annual Fourth of July Festival. Unfortunately for them, deadly microscopic parasites infest the bay that hosts their festival and caters their drinking water.
I didn’t realize this bug on the poster the first time I looked at it.
… goes to director Barry Levinson for injecting fresh blood in to the “found footage” horror genre. Footage is mainly taken from the cameraman of an intern news reporter and some hand-held camcorders from the locals but Levinson also cleverly includes today’s common technology throughout including Skype and Face-Time conversations, iPhone style text messages, desktop views of Google and Wikipedia searches, and even a YouTube video uploaded by one of the victims desperate for help.
If these “mockumentaries” such as Paranormal Activity or The Blair Witch Project are supposed to be found footage edited together and finally released for the public to see, then The Bay is found footage still being put together and the viewer is watching from inside the recording studio. We start by being introduced to our host. (In this case I mean host as in the person that provides the “entertainment,” not the host in the parasitic sense. I’ll get to that soon.)
Stephanie is one of the survivors of this devastating outbreak. She is also the news reporter who covered the Fourth of July Festival at the time. She is in a voice recording studio where there is a computer for her to watch the same documentary we are watching. You can hear the director of this “documentary” guiding her as to what she is supposed to do. This is her first time talking publicly about these events. The director is playing the video for her so that he can record her recollection of the events to include into the documentary. So, as we are watching the movie we are also supposed to feel as if we are in the studio with the director watching Stephanie watch the documentary and listening as he records her commentary about the outbreak.
Stephanie in the recording studio.
Poor citizens of Claridge… The viewer is omniscient. We are aware the water is infested with such deadly parasites, yet we see this community swimming, fishing, boating, and even drinking the water. You have genuine concern, yet you feel helpless to do anything.
She has no idea what she’s jumping into.
The parasites start off microscopic but once they infest your body and begin to eat away at your insides they grow eventually devouring their way out.
Yea, it’s like that.
Once the true nature of the horror sets in the movie thrives on panic. Doctors, police, and even the experts at the Center for Disease Control are incapable to do anything. There is no hope in sight as the poor citizens of Claridge suffer in agony to the bitter end.
If we allow ourselves as the viewer to play along with the mockumentary and act like this actually happened how then could this possibly end? Shouldn’t these parasites just spread and annihilate our country and eventually the world, thus never allowing the time for this documentary to even ever be made? It becomes a paradox actually if you think about it. Well, that is the weakest part about the movie. It just ends abruptly and slips in the dénouement that the government contained, eliminated, and covered it all up. (They explain that in the trailer and the beginning of the movie too so I didn’t just ruin the ending for you.) How could such a disaster be covered up? You’ll just need to crack open another one to help you accept that.
I’m not at all saying that the ending ruins the entire movie. If you’re a fan of horror then this movie is a must see. You will enjoy the mind trip this movie sends you on. Concern, fear, panic, shock, and slow and agonizing death to many all packaged nicely by Academy Award Winning Director Barry Levinson. Oh, and you will also fear drinking water and eating chicken.
Take a Drink: for every time someone drinks or jumps in the water.
Do a Shot: every time a bug crawls out of a body.
Thanks for stopping by! Enjoy =)