Saturday, April 20, 2013

Review: The Bay (2012)

Review by Disgruntled Monkey

Director: Barry Levinson
Starring: Kristen Connolly, Kether Donohue and Will Rogers
Writers: Barry Levinson and Michael Wallach

Environmentalist horror is something you don’t see very often. At its best it can really get under your skin as it’s all too easy to put yourself in the movie’s situation. At its worst it can become over preachy and wreck any atmosphere you are trying to create. Hearing great things about The Bay I was hoping for the latter and thankfully when I sat back to enjoy the movie, it wasn’t long before I began scratching at my arms.

Found footage is a genre trend that’s in desperate need of re-development and with last years Chronicle we kind of saw that. Instead of just one person the film is made up of multiple cameras that can be found within our society (security camera’s, news reports etc). It creates a nice blend and actually allows the found footage genre to evolve a more rounded story. Thankfully The Bay takes this approach and we get to be in the heads of multiple characters.

Using the multiple character perspectives helps exceptionally with the pacing of The Bay. Basically, a small town is caught in the middle of an ecological disaster, chaos breaks out and things get gory very quickly. The reason behind the horror slowly unfolds thanks to footage from some of the scientists looking into the environmental impact of the chicken industry in said small town and a reporter who is in the right place at the wrong time. There are other characters we also get to know who help build the human face of this horror and they all seem to act believably.

All the actors do a solid job, with Kether Donohue being the real stand out. She plays Donna Thompson, a reporter in town for a fluff piece who instead witnessed the shock of the event. She is both observer and narrator of the movie, tying all the footage together. Watching her go from a bright eyed young reporter who’s at the beginning of her career, to wearied human being who’s seen the worst nature can offer drives home the core dreadfulness of the story. It is the central performance and she was a character who I truly got behind.

This skin condition is the least of your worries in The Bay.
Being made on a very small budget some of the special effects aren’t that great, especially the CGI aspects. That being said the actual story and reason behind what’s happening to people still makes some of the effects cringe worthy. I don’t want to get into the exact reason for the disaster as that gnawing realization of what’s happening is one of the joys of the film. Needless to say it’s icky, creepy and gory.

There is a strong message in this movie but never did I feel like I was being preached to. It’s an effective horror movie that manages to do a lot with the found footage genre. I can’t recommend this film highly enough as it manages to scare and yet never delves into cheesy territory. Take a visit to The Bay why don’t you.

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