The Bay (2012) Directed by Barry Levinson. With Kether Donahue, Kristen Connolly, Christopher Denham and Frank Deal.
A found footage horror film of sorts, from the Academy Award winning director who brought us Rain Man and Good Morning, Vietnam. Interested? I was. Granted, the career of Barry Levinson has stuttered since those early classics. Anyone who saw 2004’s ‘Envy’ might wish they hadn’t, while 1998’s Sphere was at least a half of a good film.
Set in a small town on the coast of Maryland, The Bay aims to capture that now familiar sense of chaos and panic that has been the tried and tested formula of so many films since The Blair Witch Project made it so cost effective. The design and use of handheld, supposed amateur footage, merged together to form a document of ‘the story they didn’t want you to see‘ is not, however passé, the main problem. No, the main issue is that it doesn’t really do very much as a narrative. What’s more, post production sound effects and eerie music do little to help maintain our imagination within the illusion.
That said, some of the ideas floated are of interest and the film is at it’s best when spending it’s time with doctors and two oceonographers documenting and unravelling the mystery. Oddly, it all falls somewhere between the mayhem of the ruined seaside summer of ‘Jaws’, and the discomfort of virus thriller, Contagion. It is however, little more than a footnote in the pantheon of found footage thrillers. Another stuttering start for Levinson then. 2.5/5