Friday, April 19, 2013

Bay, The (2012)

Director: Barry Levinson
Notable Cast: Kether Donohue, Kristen Connolly

To start off, there wasn't a whole lot that attracted me to the entire idea of "The Bay." Another found footage horror flick, this time centered around an outbreak in Chesapeake Bay, that's directed by the man who gave us "Good Morning, Vietnam" and "Sphere." Yawn. Been there, done that. Then some of my horror colleagues started to say how good it was and how effective it used the style. This intrigued me. Perked my curiosity. Unraveled the preconceptions I had about it based on basic knowledge. What "The Bay" delivered was a pretty intense and utterly frightening film experience. One that defies all of the things that could have gone wrong by focusing on the reality of the horrors that lie all around us and overcomes its faults as it catapults to rise above the 'found footage' style into something a bit more effective. In essence, it blew me out of the water.

Times seem to be going well for a small seaside town off of Chesapeake Bay. Their economy is up, the town mayor has everyone in good spirits, and despite those two pesky environmentalists that were found half eaten by unknown causes, the town is still going to celebrate Fourth Of July in fashion. A young reporter (Donohue) remembers these events like yesterday. How people started developing a rash. How it spread so quickly. How people began to feel the things inside of them...

Keep reporting or get the fuck out? KEEP REPORTING!
Well if there is any movie to make you afraid of water since "Cabin Fever," it's "The Bay." Although the film is done in the over-done 'found footage' style, it's a lot more stylish and thoughtful then many of its peers. "The Bay" is done more along the lines of a documentary, compiling "confiscated footage" to build an artistic type of 'found footage' film that has better pacing and can use more 'cameras' to build better tension. This style partnered with a very realistic portrayal of a horrific "outbreak" (it's much simpler than I assumed going into the film, but I still won't spoil the fun for you) makes for a film that damn near feels like a documentary of real events...a trait that most certainly makes the style work.

"It will be all right. It's just an epidemic."
Although the ending of the film seems to come at a rather rapid rate, almost cutting off the climax in a way and leaving too many subplots dangling, the voyage there is a rather intense one made that way by strong executions. The acting is top notch by all involved - including a rather heart racing moment where police enter a house and all we hear are the voices while we stare at a still frame of the outside of the house - and Levinson ably injects massive amounts of atmosphere to balance out the brief (if not intense) moments of gore that occur in the last half. Although the low budget hinders some of the CGI effects, it's the realism of the film and the practical effects that really sell the entire concept too.

Although "The Bay" is not a perfect film, as I mentioned some of the subplots like one concerning a family with a child on their way to the town for a visit seem fairly unfinished, the film is a massive success. It's frightening in all the right places, slathering the entire film in a realism rarely seen in horror, and I was completely engrossed in the 'mystery' of the film even if it's essentially laid out in front of you by 30 minutes in. It might not be for everyone, but "The Bay" is a must see horror in my book.

Written By Matt Reifschneider

No comments:

Post a Comment