*The general premise to the list is available in my previous posts, go check it out*
The Bay (2012) is a mockumentary horror movie in found footage style, directed by Barry Levinson who previously brought on screen great films such as Good morning Vietnam (1987), Rain Man (1988) – winning the Award both for best direction and best pictures – and Wag the Dog (1997). The Bay was indeed a shot in the dark for Levinson, who, however, nailed it once again.
Before diving right into the movie, I need to say that the next three films on this ‘top ten of most underrated horror flicks’ – The Bay itself and the next two – have been welcomed enthusiastically by critics and reviewers, whereas being disapproved by the public. I feel relieved not being the only one who sees potential and goodness in them.
Let’s now talk about The Bay, which plot consists of a little town on the Maryland shore where an infection of some kind starts infecting people, causing them to have their body covered by warts and boils. As the disease progresses, the symptoms get worse and worse, up to the death of the infected.
This film is not your average contagion flick, though. To be clear, none turns into a famished zombie. Without spoiling anything, The Bay looks more like a documented viral contagion that spreads the virus unstoppably.
Levinson’s most ‘out of place’ work has numerous qualities. First of all, the found footage is always believable. It does make sense even in the minute details, where the exposition is left to the scientists who are documenting their studies in order to figure out what is going on in the town.
Secondly, the atmosphere is unsettling and dreadful throughout the entire runtime – 85 mins of edge-of-your-seat type of deal – even in the first scene, when the location seems paradisiac and the people look cheerful. As the movie progresses, the whole look and feel drag the viewers into a very credible nightmare with the sensation of no possible escape.
Yet, the acting is surprisingly good and the cast – composed by not even decent actors, in my opinion – did a great job in this movie. The camera work, the lightening and the performances make the story look more like a real documentary rather than a cheap mockumentary. I think the one who should be praised the most is Barry Levinson, who did a great job out of an average script and a mediocre cast.
Plus, The Bay is way more disgusting and disturbing than your usual found footage. It’s not scary, though, in the traditional way – jump scares and all that tiring stuff – but it’s unsettling. Therefore, there are few jaws dropping scenes, when the viewers literally jump on their seats, which you don’t see them coming. Something quite rare in the horror cinema nowadays.
All in all, The Bay is an intense, dreadful and disturbing movie with an actual social commentary that should make people think and reflect on the way we treat our environment. It’s a shame this movie is so overlooked. If you guys read this review, please check out the movie and tell your friends to do the same. You won’t regret it. Cheers.