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This isn't your average, run of the mill low budget "found footage" or "suppressed footage" horror film. The budget is large and the acting is spot on for what is needed to tell the tale. Think of this more as a ecological disaster/thriller than a straight horror film. Reminds me of the nature run amok sub genre films of the late seventies and early eighties. Without any preaching about how we are destroying the environment. As the story unfolds, the tension mounts as does the fear and dread. The horror is amplified by the constant reminder that everything presented here could actually happen or has happened. In fact mid-way through I kept wondering if there was an actual tragedy that this film was loosely based upon. All told the film is well paced, competently shot with solid acting and makes full use of the "found footage" style. Highly recommended for both horror fans and the occasional horror film watcher.
At first, when I saw that it was one of those films made with footage
from web cams and handhelds, I cursed the found footage genre and was
ready to be disappointed. After watching it, I must say I am glad I did
and that people responsible for the low IMDb rating didn't really watch
The truth is that this is not really a found footage film, but a documentary type of horror. The premise is that some government secreted video footage has leaked to someone who montaged them in order to show "what really happened". And what happened is a biological outbreak. The film is trying to be realistic and it manages to do that, while the slow pace that some accused works perfectly for the film's ultimate and terrifying outcome.
Bottom line: I will keep this film in my permanent collection. I don't know what people that rated it 1 smoked, but it was probably infested by parasites :-) It may also have been the setting for me: a slow night with no one around, perfect for watching horror. If you are tired of dumb monster movies and boring killer in the woods crap, this is the film for you.
I'm not a huge fan of "found footage" films, but I liked this one.
BUT not every horror/thriller fan will like this film, so if your cup of tea is more of a shock and awe or an adrenaline pumping, blood gushing, gore spewing kind; you maaaaay want to skip this one.
What IS this movie? I'm not going to go into the storyline detailing, since a lot of reviews are already doing that. Instead, I'll tell you what kind of movie it is, in my own amateurish opinion.
This movie will appeal to the type of audience who likes to try new spins of old concepts. The movie does not have a lot of action, and it only has a bit of blood and gore, but it has its own charm. In the sense that it makes you think about possibilities, in general.
Granted, I thought it missed a lot of opportunities for scares, it still came out good and a convincing sample of FF. Maybe they didn't want to go for the "cheap scares" approach, which I have to admire them for, but the story did lack some substance. Still, I enjoyed it and would recommend it to friends.
I realized tonight that there's a built in problem with mockumentary
and found footage films. Whereas regular films create their own subtly
pliable reality where disbelief can be stretched and molded as long as
it's kept in context; mockumentary and found footage films ask us to
believe that this is *our* reality - not a created one where things
might work just a little bit differently.
So let's say you're watching an regular horror movie and something happens that doesn't quite gel with our real world - let's say a cop goes up to a house, leaving his partner in the car, gunshots are heard in the house and the cop says "I'm going in" but the partner, instead of calling for backup and then going in with him - as would be standard common sense, let alone protocol - sits in the car and waits and waits instead...
In a regular film you might be able to let that go.
But in a film that's entire style and purpose is an attempt to make you believe it's real - errors like this take on a much greater importance. In fact, they're absolutely inexcusable, and that's why The Bay sucks.
It's a shame too, because the actual found-footage and documentary style is directed well, with a lot of care and attention paid to realism. I'd go as far as to say this was the best handled "reality" film footage I've seen to date.
Why then, would Barry Levinson settle on such a stupid script? The entire thing is riddled with bizarre errors, things that just wouldn't happen in our real world (the world the film asks us to place the context in). Things like the CDC being a NASA style call center where the five guys who take the calls are also the disease detectives, biological experts, and seemingly also authorized to make national security decisions. Or that the death of 700+ people in a single day in a town of thousands could be silenced with a simple financial payoff, or even smaller things like a high powered lawyer not checking her cellphone for 8 hours.
So ultimately, very well acted, very well directed but completely derailed by a script that's dumber than a box of rocks.
I liked it. Most horror movies depend on something supernatural and implausible to get their chills, but this one makes only modest science-fiction leaps from real ecological problems facing Chesapeake Bay to something truly creepy. Sure, its innocents-at-risk central subplot is hokey, but what do you expect from a horror movie? (We all need someone to identify with.) I think its use of the found-footage technique, by which it pretends to be a documentary, increases both its plausibility and its scariness. I can't judge how well or how fairly it publicizes the ecological problems facing Chesapeake Bay, but it makes for a zinger of a horror movie.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The director of Rain Man has delivered a truly frightening vision of an
ecological disaster that turns into a horror movie.
The film starts with a woman looking into a camera doing a report on the video you're about to be shown. She speaks in a clam, but mournful tone saying that everyone you're watching will die badly very soon.
The plot is pretty straight forward: the Chesapeake Bay town has dumped too much chicken-poop laced with too many hormones into a bay which has a little parasite that has migrated from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean and a little radiation leak and then made the awesome decision to turn that bay water into drinking water then falls prey to denial, government bureaucracy and fear. The reporter who is our lone known survivor and narrator is our lone emotional and personal link into the people we are watching die on screen.
Horror movie fans will love the gore unfolding before then.
Regular movie fans are in for the rare horror movie that deals with bigger issues in a way that blurs the line between fact and fantasy in a truly convincing way by using the real facts to spin a tale that could be happening.
8/10. A true horror movie that makes you think about bigger issues.
First, I have to react to all the reviews that say that this film is so
medically wrong that they can't take it seriously. I just have to say
that they don't know how wrong they are. I work in the ER of the
largest hospital in Europe and had to cope with H1N1 flu outbreak as a
"reference center" and you can't imagine how f... up the organization
(at every level, from our equivalent of CDC to the hospital
administrative board) is. Had H1N1 virus been the "bad guy" of this
film, we'd all be minus our tongue by now. (and don't get me started on
"they should use a cure, why don't they do this or that"...).
Apart from that, this is really a great film for someone who loves his scares with a brain. Of course, if you prefer stories about a bunch of teen ages who just decided to go to the woods where an serial killer offed a few people 10 years ago just for kicks, you'll get bored out of your mind by the first half hour. But if you enjoy films which don't take you by the hand from point A to point B, don't overexpose their villain, and scare you on a deep level (the one you only can reach when you KNOW these things could happen), you'll love every minute of this film.
So don't go and see it if 1)you want to see heads explode 2)you want to see some cleavage 3)you want instant action from the moment the lights go out
Go and see it if 1)you like films that are rooted in the real world 2)you like intelligent films ("Alien" is a very intelligent film) 3)you can stomach truly gross scenes
Whether you like "found footage" or not is inconsequential, this is one of the best use of the genre I've watched (better than Cloverfield, as good as Rec, wasn't very fond of Diary of the Dead).
A small town on the coast of Maryland has a bizarre outbreak of some
kind in the middle of their 4th of July festivities. The symptoms are
strange, disgusting, and quickly don't add up. The hospital can't
figure out what it is. Within 24 hours the town is in chaos, surrounded
by the national guard, and quarantined. A small town novice reporter
was on scene covering the 4th of July and she describes what happened
with the help of her own camera footage as well as other digital
evidence pieced together from a variety of sources.
It has some of that Blair Witch camera work which I normally despise, but for this documentary style flick it worked really well and I think this is the best example of its genre I've seen.
The thing about this is that once we come to understand the origin of this outbreak it sounds like something that really could happen. The chain of events that cascaded into this disaster was surprisingly complex and at the same time very on point with the risks industrialization poses to the environment and to us! I don't think I've seen a threat in a horror movie this well thought out in many years. It all made sense once you understood what was happening but it definitely comes out of a blind spot in the horror realm.
This is not simply a mutated flesh eating infection, a curse, or anything quite so simple but neither does it have the histrionic level drama that some horror junkies need these days. This is weird horror in the realm of the real.
I never thought I'd say this, but I was glad when I found little discrepancies in the portrayal of the collapse of the infrastructure, hospital and police procedures, etc. While watching it, my mind was going into overdrive trying to find reasons that 'this isn't real; this really couldn't happen like this.' There were a couple of scenes that were chilling in how similar they were to actual news stories. I felt an emotional outpouring of sympathy for the victims. It was like watching one of these catastrophes like hurricane Katrina or hurricane Sandy where you just feel so bad for the people involved. Of course the difference was this was a bit more bloody and once you come to understand the nature of the biological danger it goes to a whole new level of revulsion.
I kind of wanted to see holes in it to find some respite from the growing anxiety. I felt like some of those holes were there in a couple of gratuitous shock value scenes that fell a little flat, and in the response from the government. But when you look at the lack of response hurricane Katrina got in the first 24 hours maybe one of those holes isn't so big after all, though the conspiracy-style cover-up in the movie was a bit much.
All in all, this film will make your skin crawl!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
How can you be scared ? The Bay is anything but a horror movie. Barry
Levinson totally disappointed me. This film is 100% inaccurate, both
medically and on script terms.
I'm not the guy who rationalizes everything he sees. But if you mess with public environment, health or technologies available to control plagues, pollution, etc., you play with fire. The Bay is a negative example of that.
It made CDC and EPA look like morons, actually. Not to mention the awful medical behavior. There are treatments that could be tried before amputation and shotguns... I urge Barry Levinson to get a Vademecum in order to get familiar with drugs that kill parasites. They are not mentioned at all. Even later, when the parasite identificated, THEY DID NOT TREAT THEM with drugs! Unbelievable. How can you fear a 2 centimeters cockroach who is isolated, studied and should be treated as well...
One of the fear factors in a movie is when you have a situation out of control, when you ignore the cause of the plague, when you mess with a bad guy who seems unstoppable. Nothing of this happens here. Levinson tries to be seriously scary, but such thing didn't succeed. I think that if you want to be believable and threatening, you got to handle reality facts as well in order to be believable. Unnatural things can become natural if you are clever enough. I remember Contagion. Not the best movie of all times, but it had a good reality factor, and it was medically believable.
The Bay is unbelievable, absurd, and people seems to be retarded, especially those who are in charge of the situation.
I hate when directors do that. You got to study the subject a little when you are producing and filming, it's the least you can do.
Awful, boring, lacking credibility, lacking fantasy, lacking acting, lacking plot, people is portraited as idiots. And I tend to think that the guys in this film think that I'm an idiot, too. Insulting. Don't see it.
The worst movie I've seen in a long time.
For a movie that claims to be somehow similar to the Paranormal
franchise this is pretty decent. While it still has the obvious flaws
(convinience of the "found footage", sound enhancement for some of the
horror/shock moments), it does convince with its "story". Plus while it
may sound very strange and out there, this is actually more believable
than haunting houses, because it actually dives into science (if you'll
excuse the pun I'm using).
The acting is OK, the script isn't the best, but overall I liked that it underplayed the main theme, rather than being too on the nose. The effects were good too, characters not acting "rational" is something we almost grew accustomed to.
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