Review: Director sends message in thinking horror film
Unlike other horror films featuring an unlikely killer, Director Barry Levinson takes the genre to a new direction with “The Bay” and fuses science-fiction with scary elements that push the story.
The movie opens with media reports of millions of fish turning up dead in Chesapeake Bay. Hundreds of residents of a nearby town soon become infected by a strange rash and are dead by the end of the day.
The cause is covered up by the government until three years after the disaster when local news intern Donna Thompson, played by Kether Donohue, finally reveals the truth in a Skype interview.
Things take a strange turn when police respond to two domestic violence calls, where one victim is found mutilated. Thompson immediately follows the story thinking it’s a simple murder, but that changes when a woman with strange blisters all over her body shows up at the festival asking for help.
Soon, residents begin to overrun the hospital with the same blisters and the doctors are unsure of what the cause is or what to do to help.
Thompson informs the audience that within 24 hours, the victims are all dead, having died from being eaten from the inside out.
In order to make this film horrifying, Levinson employs the same mock documentary footage style that films like “The Blair Witch Project” and the “Paranormal Activity” franchise use to tell the story.
The cast of unknowns and the tension that the movie builds in the investigation to find out what is killing people is what ultimately strengthens the movie.
Research footage from scientists and a video of steroid-enhanced chicken excrement being dumped into the bay from an eco-blogger is used to underline the message that Levinson is trying to tell: that people should be more vigilant in protecting the environment.
The message that is implemented into “The Bay” is well placed and scary in itself.
Levinson employs real life evidence of the bay’s pollution and takes it to an extreme to scare the audience.
As the movie continues, the evidence that is being presented all lies in the realm of possibility and that is what helps in scaring the audience.
All in all, Levinson should be commended for taking a different route in this horror movie. The suspense and buildup of the plot is intriguing and while there are a few “gotcha” moments and plenty of gore that will delight horror fans, “The Bay” is more of a thinking man’s horror film that everyone can enjoy.