This "found-footage" film is set in 2009 in the town of Claridge, Maryland on the Chesapeake Bay. During the town's annual 4th of July Crab Festival, townspeople become sick, exhibiting a variety of symptoms, which leads local news reporters to suspect something has infected the water there. No one is sure what it is or how it's transmitted, but as people start to behave strangely, and others turning up dead, fear spawns into panic. The town is shut down as government authorities confiscate video footage from every media or personal source they find, in an effort to cover-up the incident. But one local reporter who witnessed the epidemic, was able to document, assemble, and hide this film in hopes that one day, the horrible truth would be revealed . . .Written by
Director Barry Levinson was approached to do a documentary about the Chesapeake bay. He watched another documentey about the Chesapeake bay that talked about the pollution and the lack of fish. He said it was a great documentary but nobody will care about it. And so he said he would take all of the facts about the Chesapeake bay and turn it into a theatrical base piece. See more »
Around the beginning, the mayor drinks a cup of water. However, he never ends up becoming infected. See more »
Well directed, well acted, derailed by a dumb script.
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.
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