The Bay - Review
Review by Rob Carnevale
JUST when you thought it wasn’t safe to return to the found footage genre, Barry Levinson goes and serves up the horrific treat that is The Bay.
Described as Jaws meets Paranormal Activity, the film also serves as ‘a cautionary tale’ with ‘targeted social commentary’. In other words, it’s smart, difficult to watch, icky fun that succeeds in posing a credible ‘what if’ scenario.
Set in the quaint Coastal town of Claridge, in Maryland, USA, the film pieces together various footage of events leading up to and surrounding the community’s annual 4th of July celebrations as a gruesome plague takes grip and transforms the place into hell.
The infection in question stems from the water and spreads quickly and messily in those who come into contact with it giving Levinson plenty of opportunity to employ gross out effects and an ever increasing sense of terror.
There’s also a nice line in pitch black humour running throughout, while film references are nicely interwoven with Jaws and Cabin Fever prominent among them. It’s no small compliment to say that Spielberg would be proud of some of the jumps that Levinson orchestrates.
Notable too is the way in which Levinson, who co-wrote the screenplay with Michael Wallach, grounds things in a credible reality to make some valid social points about cover-ups, genetic engineering and environmental pollution, thereby upsetting the natural food chain.
It means his film not only functions as one of the year’s best crowd-pleasing horror films but also provides a potential talking point afterwards as well.
Criticisms stem from some of the more blatant horror gimmicks, particularly late on, that seem designed purely with trailer moments in mind, or the lapses in logic or common sense that are required to create every scenario.
But most of these are easy to overlook given The Bay‘s overall ability to grip. It’s a genuinely nerve-testing experience that delivers as much to terrify the imagination as it does to get the stomach churning. You may even be compelled to look up isopods afterwards.
Running time: 82mins
UK Release Date: March 1, 2013