The found footage genre has had many a helmsman over the course of its boom time, but never before has a director as acclaimed as Barry Levinson (Rain Man/Diner) handled such a movie, and in doing so he delivers a project that offers a much needed spin from the normal offerings.
Instead of found footage, The Bay shows restricted footage, all of which has been hidden from the general public (how it’s released is never really revealed), this footage is then pieced together from the various sources that include CCTV, family footage, local television, webcasts, and mobile phone footage; and put into a time order so you can watch events unravel.
Levinson has seldom trod in the direction of anything that remotely links to horror, and it has to be said, from a suspense perspective he was the ideal man for the job. He pieces together the horror quite nicely, with a slow and fairly tame looking “killer” before going of on a final aggressive all guns blazing assault of both psychological, and visual horror.
Like every movie of this genre, Levinson has a cast of virtual unknowns, to create the impression that perhaps if you happened to stumble upon the film, you might very well believe it to be a documentary. This is the biggest asset to The Bay, it does come off very much like a cutting edge documentary, due to the mixed footage quality nature, it also has that feel about it of unraveling horror, the sort of thing you experience when watching a breaking news report on a live news channel.
Levinson's movie (based on a screenplay by Michael Wallach) is very much of the moment, it's a horror of ecological proportions that handles the subject of what can happen if we continue to pollute our planet. Plausibility does go out the window quite considerably, but like JJ Abrahms Cloverfield it takes the cause of the horror back to the hands of it's own victims.
The Bay is getting very mixed reviews, but the key to the movie is that you stick with it, allow yourself to become submerged into it’s story. If you allow yourself to do this, and you enjoy very different horror tales, then this ecological spin on the found footage genre will tick all the right boxes. The Bay proves that Barry Levinson is not only capable of delivering great drama; he can also build a highly suspenseful horror tale.
One final point to raise is the phenomenal closing score by Marcelo Zarvos, from a virtually music free movie, Zarvos’ score comes from out of the blue and adds that final edge to an incredibly well rounded movie.
The Bay lands in the UK in March.