There’s forty-five million pounds of chicken shit dumped into the bay each year!
Year Released : 2012
Starring : Will Rogers, Kristen Connolly, Kether Donohue, Frank Deal, Stephen Kunken, Christopher Denham and Nansi Aluka
I’ve been debating for the last 48 hours whether to actually review this film as I saw that it had a relatively high number of votes on IMDB (more than 20,000) compared to most movies that I review on this site, but then I realised that it might be a while before I get a chance to review another and I don’t want to get into the habit of reviewing one and then taking several weeks off again, so here is it.
I had heard of the film in passing previously but had never actually tried to watch “The Bay” and never even watched a trailer, but then I saw it advertised on Netflix after I had finished reviewing “Land Mine Goes Click” and so I decided to go with it. Little did I realise that it was a found footage film, so I was already anticipating what I was about to watch and not in a good way, but you never know, I had been surprised in the past.
Donna Thompson (Donohue) is invited to talk about an incident several years prior at Chesapeake Bay in which most of the town dies sudden deaths. She recalls how she was an apprentice news reporter and she believed at the time that she was simply reporting a minor medical issues. It’s peak season at the bay but a lot of people are starting to go into hospital with various boils and infected wounds. Dr Abrams (Kunken) quickly realises that this might be something considerable more drastic when he realises that it is a parasite of some variety that is eating the body from the out and in simultaneous.
Abrams struggles to get an answer out of the government and they eventually start ignoring him as they realise that the town needs to be quarantined. Soon anyone who comes into contact with the water starts falling ill, coming out in boils and mysteriously their tongues eaten.
Can they find an answer in time to save anyone?
So was it worth while or the same as most other found footage films?
I will give “The Bay” praise in that is is different to most other found footage films that I have seen as it doesn’t go with any of the usual stereotypes of the genre. There are no jump-scares, no more . It is also strange to have a narrator most of the way through the film, but this actually causes the main issue that I have with the film…..it nullifies any attachment that you have to the characters.
When Donna is introducing several characters as they appear on screen, she says that they die by the end of that night, meaning that you are automatically disconnected emotionally from them as you know that they are going to “snuff it” within the next hour and a bit. For example, one of the better and more interesting characters to follow is Dr Abrams, but you know from the first minute you see him that he going to die because we’re told it as soon as he appears. Why should I truly care about a character you’ve just told me is going to die.
This isn’t based on an historical event, such as “Titanic” and any set in World War 2, films where you expect most of the characters you see to die, this is a film where, whilst death is likely, it’s not a certainty, and it ruins it somewhat.
The pacing really doesn’t help in this sense and it seems all over the place. There is also one scene in which a character is perfectly fine before he notices he is infected…..and then he dies within 20 seconds. It is either an amazing coincidence that he died just slightly after noticing this, but it feels more like an excuse just to kill off a character as one hadn’t died in a while.
I’m caught in two minds about this because I wasn’t actually bored by “The Bay” at any point, but the problem is that everything feels completely inconsequential. It is unlike any other “found footage” film I’ve seen, which is good in some respects, but in others it just doesn’t work. If it wasn’t for make up and prosthetic applied to create the illusion of flesh being eaten, you’d be forgiven for not really knowing what everyone was getting worried about and this isn’t helped by the lack of a major human antagonist. At least in normal “found footage” films there is something even remotely tangible for you to get terrified (or at least form a vague attempt to be terrified about).
I think that the best way to describe it would be “inconsequential” and in a year or so I will have forgotten that I spent just over 80 minutes watching this, with only the occasional browse through the “All Reviews” list reminding me about it.
Whilst it does follow the same formula of most other found footage films, which is something to be commended, it is certainly not as engaging as other movies within the genre and I found it really hard to care about what was happening.
I’m not saying that “The Bay” is a bad film by any stretch, but it’s not good either.
If I could use one word to describe it then it would definitely be “meh”.