I'm really trying my best not to go around spewing my bi-polar hatred for films that have no business existing. I've been working closely with my therapist and taking the needed medication to make sure that I keep my venomous words in check. Still...sometimes, I do need to vent. I'll try to keep the mean words to a minimum.
I really wanted to like Barry Levinson's The Bay. Honestly. And I even enjoyed some of it. But, after awhile, the entire exercise started to get monotonous and I just wanted it to be over. And it's a shame, too...because, normally, Barry Levinson makes great films. I mean, when the director of Rain Man makes a genre film...you kinda have to sit up and pay attention.
When I first heard of this film, I honestly thought that it might be a found footage version of Night of the Creeps, or something. I thought there was gonna be some sort of mind-controlling parasite that turned people into zombies. I heard mixed reactions about the film through friends...then, I just kinda forgot about it. The other day I was talking to someone and asked her about The Bay...so, I checked it out for myself, finally. Turns out that it wasn't a "mind-controlling zombie" movie. Instead, it was an ecological commentary on how polluting the water might be the death of us all...done in tedious found footage style. Ugghh...in retrospect, the film would've probably been better off with "mind-controlling zombies".
The Bay sucked a lot of the energy from me. It hits you with all kinds of repetitive "found footage" done in such a tired way that you're left there in the dark wondering if you actually cared about the film and its characters. And...no, I actually didn't give any fucks about these people. Even when they tried their hardest to sway my empathy by showing kids that were being affected by these flesh-eating isopods, I couldn't care any less. My energy was too busy trying to figure out a way to stay conscience to the end of this film.
The film starts off rather awkwardly with Donna Thompson (the talented Kether Donohue) informing you that she will be your found footage guide this evening. Unfortunately, she's not really used well enough and her talents are sort of squandered for the entire running time. But, you can definitely feel that, had the director actually cared enough, she might've really given an unforgettable performance as an intern reporter thrust into the heart of all the gory action. However, all she's really doing is giving you a play-by-play commentary on how she was going around standing in front of a news camera the whole time. Within the actual "found footage" it is learned that Donna was meant to report all the fun activities happening at the July 4th festivities in Maryland's Chesapeake Bay. However, things sort of spiral out of control and before you know it...those pesky isopods are ripping people apart. Unfortunately, that's also when the film sort of spirals out of control and before you know it...those pesky filmmakers start not giving a goddamn about plot holes and plausibility. Which is fucking crazy considering that you are watching a movie about isopods that eat things from the inside out that actually exist in real life! That stuff practically writes itself.
Fortunately for the film, it has great talents like Kristen Connolly (wondering just what in the fuck she is doing stranded on a boat in this goddamn movie the whole time) and the previously mentioned Kether Donohue (rockin' flesh-colored vacuum-sealed pants). Unfortunately for the actresses...they're in The Bay. That's not to say that it's all bad, tho. The gore is pretty great...in the few bits that it is taken advantage of and it does a respectable job of creeping under your skin. Especially the parts that show those little isopod bastards crawling about. Sadly, that's not enough to save a film this convoluted and silly. Which is a crying shame, seeing as how that particular subject is seriously one of my horror film kryptonites. Body horror crawly stuff that eats you from your insides. My other horror kryptonite is evil demon possession stuff. So, if they ever figure out how to make a scary film where parasitic creatures eat out your innards while demons possess your body...I'm pretty much fucked.
I watched one of the extras on the DVD which had Levinson, himself, explaining the creation of The Bay...and it is a fair assumption that he had a decent premise at the start of this project. He meant to film some sort of documentary exposing some of the terrible pollution of some of our water supplies and bodies of water. However, at the urging of the film studio...he came out making a found footage horror film, instead. Because film studios don't believe in shit like documentaries and saving the world.
It's also worth noting that Oren Peli helped produce this film, which explains the "from the producers of Paranormal Activity" tag line they have prominently displayed on the top of the poster. Lately, his producing efforts have sort of sucked. So, he's kinda turning into the M. Night Shamalamalamadingdong of the genre. Probably a good rule of thumb to check to see if Peli has produced a film (Chernobyl Diaries) before shelling out your hard-earned cash for it.
At the end of the day...I watched The Bay so you don't have to. Fuck...time for my medication.