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The Bay

The Bay 2012.

A seaside Chesapeake Bay town nestled on Maryland’s Eastern Shore thrives on water. When two French researchers find a staggering level of toxicity in the water, they attempt to alert the mayor, but he refuses to create a panic. As a result, a deadly plague is unleashed, turning the people into hosts for a mutant breed of deadly parasites.
Director: Barry Levinson
Writers :Barry Levinson (story), Michael Wallach (story)
Stars: Will Rogers, Kristen Connolly, Kether Donohue
Taglines: Panic feeds on fear.
Runtime: 84 min
The Bay (2012) on IMDb

The Eco Disaster flick The Bay turned out to be an enjoyable foray into the realm of found footage horror. The film uses a variety of techniques and mediums in an effort to deliver an unique experience in what is essentially an over saturated sub-genre of horror. Skype, Facetime, Google, Youtube, Webcams, and Blogging are all used to compile the tragic story of a small Chesapeake Bay town undergoing, what appears to be a viral outbreak. It was nice to see other avenues used to deliver the ‘found footage’ element of the film; other than the standard night vision equipped DV cams of the genre. In fact the entire film is an eyewitness account given by a young intern journalist Donna Thompson(Kether Donohue) via Skype after the events of The Bay take place.

The Bay 2012

Journalist Intern, Donna Thompson (Kether Donohue)

There are several ‘mini’ or side stories going on throughout the film. The reporter is the main narrator throughout The Bay, relating and organizing the clips, tapes, Skypes and relevant media into a cohesive story. There are numerous other appearances; the corrupt and shady Mayor, a pair of police partners, a wealth couple with a baby and two oceanographers investigating the toxicity of the water. With such a wealth of characters I didn’t find myself overly invested in any one person, I was more interested in the overall fate of the townspeople (well with the exception of the baby! I wanted the baby to live).

The Bay

The real ‘meat’ of The Bay centers on corporate greed and carelessness – and the bureaucratic red-tape that hinders all things, much to the detriment of John Q. Public. The small town is heavily reliant on it’s chicken farming industry (a fairly large scale operation) that just happens to be situated on the waterfront; using questionable business practices, the company regularly dumps chicken waste straight into the bay. Did I forget to mention said chickens are fed growth hormones and high amounts of steroids (apparently common practice for REAL) which enter the water by way of the chicken shit. Did I also mention that nuclear waste (heavy water) also leaked into the water in the towns past. Can you see where this is going? It turns out that a parasitic organism has been affected by years of environmental abuse and corporate neglect with the help of cover ups by the towns Mayor. The organism, Cymothoa exigua is a real world baddie also named, the tongue-eating louse. (Read this wiki article on these insane parasites).

The Bay

These things are fukking real!

With the aid of a desalinization plant (salt water -> fresh water conversion) all of the townspeople become infected by the parasite during a 4th of July festival by drinking water and even swimming. The parasite develops in it’s host rapidly; causing red festering boils to appear before consuming the host’s tongue and finally devouring internal organs (which leads the host to vomit copious amounts of blood everywhere and then die). Large bugs breeding inside you, eating you alive and then crawling out through the wounds, Truly Gruesome! The gore, not at all a central part of the film, was well done when used and disturbingly effective. As with all viral outbreak/plague films, the breakdown of society becomes the central theme in the film; hospitals overrun, government quarantines, suicides and mass panic are all depicted in The Bay – and I felt the use of the found footage style helped convey a sort of realism to the film.

The Bay

Complexion Issues

The Bay is a solid eco-disaster found footage flick that doesn’t depend on the sub-genre’s standard tropes of night vision DV cams and cheap scares, but instead highlights the current technological communication methods of today and focus’s on a very real threat; environmental disaster. Barry Levinson’s (Rain Man, Good Morning Vietnam, Tin Men) attempt at found footage horror with The Bay, paints a horrifying picture of the world we currently live in. The message delivered in the film The Bay isn’t the fact that we are all going to get infected by tongue eating parasites by drinking water or swimming at the lake; the message is that the pursuit of the almighty dollar oft times has dire consequences that will ultimately come back to haunt us. Just look at this guy!

The Bay

He’s still alive in this scene!

Rating_The Bay

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