The Bay could easily be filed under the found footage style of filmmaking, yet this mixed-footage movie tries to stay in the realm of realistic horror while also addressing ecological issues. Also the film is helmed by Barry Levinson, a name director (Avalon, Diner, Rain Man, Wag the Dog) and possibly the first name director to indulge in this genre. Okay come to think of it Brian De Palma’s Redacted is found footage, there are probably other instances, after all who knows how many times Steven Spielberg was consulted on the release of the first Paranormal Activity. Needless to say Levinson brings a kind of unfolding suspense to this story of a virus that results from massive amounts of chicken manure mixed with radioactive runoff that gets dumped into a New England coastal region. Levinson also throws a couple of curve balls considering that The Bay occasionally includes regular movie type shots intercut with the found footage.
A small town finds a series of escalating events that result in cordoning the community from the rest of the world. A strange series of deaths resulting from exposure to fish parasites first gets the local medical ER busy, which then translates into Skype calls to the Center for Disease Control. Soon people are dropping like the proverbial flies your mom told you about.
The action shifts often enough that we never really have a lead character, more like an ensemble of desperate people (some of whom you recognize) who’re trying to outrun the fish parasite apocalypse.
– Michael Bergeron