Thursday, October 3, 2013

Day 3: The Bay (2012)

A Month of Horror

Like the genre we are here to celebrate, a sequel is always around the corner.  Horror Movies are full of sequels - from the established classics of the '80s, to today's annual cash-grab installments of the cheap and easy series.  Due to the popularity of last year's Horror Movie-A-Day, I have decided to present 31 all new (or old) horror movies for your enjoyment...

October 3: The Bay (2012)

The name Barry Levinson is a big one in Hollywood, and rightfully so.  He has directed some fantastic movies over the years, eveything from Sleepers and Wag the Dog, to Good Morning Vietnam.  His name is not exactly one that screams found footage horror film, and yet, there it is attached to today's movie, The Bay.

Found footage films are the new cheap and dirty, and unfortunately for every REC and Blair Witch Project, there are at least three dozen variations that don't really understand the permutations of what makes an effective found footage film.  REC got it right because there was a reporter on the scene providing a plausible reason for why everything was being filmed.  Blair Witch nailed the concept by insinuating that the found footage was in fact handed over by the authorities to the film makers to have it processed and edited in a way that they would be able to make sense ofthe disappearance of the three film students.

The Bay is a little different.  The horror is more grounded in a reality and when you know that the entire concept for the film actually started off as a documentary about the negative environmental impacts of chicken farm run off into Chesepeake Bay, it is no surprise that the resulting film is so taught and impactful.

This could happen.  This could actually be happening.  It is impossible to shake those thoughts as you watch a small coastal town succomb to a mysterious plague and suffer a complete collapse.  You believe it, because the entire narrative has its roots in reality and the stretched truths still maintain a level of horrifying potential.

In the behind the scenes interviews, Levinson explains that his reason for switching from a documentary format to the final result was that he feared people would just view the documentary as another green propaganda piece and that the impact would be lost.

By taking the approach he did, and showing the "what ifs" that could result in an entire bay being pumped full of hormone and steroid infused chicken crap.  What would happen to the bacteria in the water?  What would happen to the people who were exposed to that water (and that bacteria)?  The Bay poses some pretty heavy questions and delivers a very effective horror film at the same time, and one of the best found footage films of recent memory.

Tomorrow we will learn that sinister things lurk in the shadows...

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