Tuesday, November 06, 2012
Something is happening in the Chesapeake Bay. In a small Maryland community two researchers discover a high level of toxicity in the famous water. Concerned about their findings the two attempt to have the mayor shut down the town’s annual Independence Day festival. However, had they seen Jaws, Blood Beach, Piranha, etc, they would know that the mayor never shuts down a celebration. Meanwhile, homely aspiring TV reporter Donna is given her big break when she is asked to cover the celebration. Her focus soon changes when townspeople start dropping dead covered in boils, consumed by parasites. Determined to get to the bottom of things Donna starts her own investigation and soon learns that the government is paying off survivors to shut the hell up about a growing environmental disaster.
What a bait and switch! Barry Levinson advertises “The Bay” as a horror movie but it is really a preachy environmental message (not that there’s anything wrong with that but I don’t want it in my horror). Copying the “found footage” format Levinson lets his story unfold with web cams, security footage, cell phone cameras, and of course homely Donna’s news footage. There are a few standout visual moments and the parasites are vile, but The Bay is never scary and is too overt in its expository preachiness (see also: Contagion). Apparently Levinson was inspired to make this film after learning that 40% of the Chesapeake Bay is dead and although he was originally going to make a documentary about this he thought that he could better get his message across via a horror movie. Jerk. How dare he make me learn something while I watch horror?