The Bay - Blu-ray Review

'one of the more convincing found footage 'worlds' so far seen in the sub genre'

How do you approach communicating with people about pollution, our faltering natural world and the slow ways in which we appear to be killing off our planet? If you're Barry Levinson, apparently, you decide to make a Horror film.

Levinson's idea is deceptively clever. Basing The Bay in Chesapeake Bay, site of some terrible real-life pollution, the director gives himself all of the credibility he needs to pitch a 'what if' scenario involving mutations and infections carried by a body of water slowly losing all it's natural ability to give life.

Not content simply with this pitch, Levinson sets about creating arguably one of the more convincing found footage 'worlds' so far seen in the sub genre. The Bay is a world away from following some idiot who just so happens to have stumbled into Chernobyl whilst he just so happens to be carrying a camera. Levinson puts people in believable situations with believable ways of recording what they see; a Skype call between a concerned doctor and a health agency; the local news crew, filming a parade; a girl in the hospital, using Facetime with her friend. The variety and the little details (the girl's call ends with the phone showing the Apple 'film roll' of her recording, Skype occasionally breaks up) sell it to you. Playfully, the conspiracy guy who films himself on a late night infiltration of a local chicken farm gets very little screen time.

The problem with this are the times the director resorts to less convincing, more predictable moments of video record. There's definitely something bad going to happen to the two teens who decide to record themselves on a pretty inauspicious pier, for example. Finally, Levinson caves completely and focuses on a couple, one of whom utters the words 'is it really necessary to record everything?', who couldn't behave more like typical Horror characters, or be less shocked about the litany of bodies they see, if they tried.

It means that his film is a little bit of a mix; impressive when it hits its marks, derivative and dull when it feels like it can't be bothered. From Levinson's point of view, The Bay does create a viable message in favour of environmental protections, which you feel was probably his main aim. For everyone else, particularly other film-makers, it shows a clear roadmap to follow to keeping found footage an interesting sub-genre, worthy of attention by considerable film talent.

By Sam Turner. Sam is editor of Film Intel, and can usually be found behind a keyboard with a cup of tea. He likes entertaining films and dislikes the other kind. He's on , Twitter and several places even he doesn't yet know about.

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