Thursday, January 10, 2013

Eat fish? Maybe not after seeing this.

THE BAY (2012)

Ok, the title is a little misleading.  Chances are, this flick will not deter you from eating fish (for those of you who do eat them that is).  It certainly didn't change my mind any.  However, unlike most found footage style movies, the scenario in The Bay is one that is a little more likely to happen in real life.  I say a little, mind you.  But enough of this rambling, let's dive in shall we?  (Pun not originally intended, but when I realized it was there, I decided to let it stay.)

A journalism student looking to prove her worth in the world of reporting gets an opportunity to do a report on a Fourth of July celebration in the town of Claridge.  There are plenty of laughs and good times had, until people start exhibiting signs of some kind of sickness.  Large patches of blisters and vomiting are the first symptoms, and before long, the hospital is packed with patients.  It's revealed fairly early that the local bay is infested with parasites called isopods.  Certain areas of the bay are littered with millions of fish being eaten from the inside out by the isopods.  And anyone who has contact with the water, whether it being swimming in it, drinking it, or eating anything that came out of it, can and (in pretty much all cases) will become infected by these parasites.  The footage we watch is from many different areas.  From the up-and-coming reporter, to doctor/CDC conversations, to a pair of oceanographers trying to learn what is happening and how it might be stopped, and at least three or four more perspectives that don't really amount to too much in the end. 

So, let's talk about the positives.  With a couple of exceptions, I found the acting convincing enough to complement the seriousness of the situation in The Bay.  While I mentioned the other perspectives that didn't amount to much, one of those perspectives was the scene with the couple and their baby going for a boat ride.  The juxtaposition (a word I don't get to use much) of their laughing and "not a care in the world" scene, compared to the strife and dire situation of the residents in town was an interesting addition.  The makeup and special effects were also impressive, from the early stages of infection straight through to the final outcome of the victims.    

Before I get to the negatives, there's something I have to bring up, and I still don't know how I feel about it.  This movie is taking itself very seriously.  I mean, Boonsweet and I watched this, and neither of us expected this level of seriousness.  Whenever I watch a horror flick, there's almost always some part where I can chuckle or riff on it, and it would take some of the heavy out of the flick.  But in The Bay, I couldn't find any part that lightened things up in any way.  It was a very bleak movie throughout.  Even that scene I mentioned with the couple enjoying themselves on their boat didn't help to lighten things up, because it just reminded me of what was going on in the town.  Also, I was thinking the entire time I watched them that something was going to happen to ruin their day.  You'll have to judge for yourself if I'm making too much of this, and let me know what you think.

Anyway, on to the negatives.  Not a whole lot to say about negatives really.  As I said earlier, some of the perspectives weren't necessary.  Either the people included died quickly after being introduced, or they just weren't relevant to the progress of the story.  Also, because there were so many perspectives, there was on occasion a lot of fast switching between people.  I thought that the main characters I mentioned above were really enough to keep things going.  Also, the reporter wannabe is clearly inexperienced and somewhat inept in her attempt at reporting.  I have trouble believing she was capable of gathering all the different footage we view, especially when the government is looking to keep the situation quiet.  But hey, maybe I'm just nitpicking.  And as far as the isopods go, I was kind of hoping they would grow larger then they did.  I mean, not too big.  I would have been happy with football sized tops.  But it wasn't that big a deal.

In the end, this was a good watch.  While not my favorite found footage feature, it certainly wasn't the worst either.  The Bay has a dvd release date of March 5th, so go buy some popcorn in advance, and check it out on its release. 

Movie rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Found Footage rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

- Ken Bucklesworth has spoken.  Also, be sure to follow the blog on Twitter @BoonsBuckles, and yours truly @KenBucklesworth.

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