Can these Paranormal Activity guys do anything else? Apparently not, there must be an element of laziness that goes into shooting a film like this. There’s a shit ton of scenes, actors and special effects and although this was one of those found footage horrors, shouldn’t there be at least one protagonist? This film felt, to me, like they had an idea going into it and knew what they kind of wanted to happen, but in the end, it felt like a student film with mediocre effects.
A seaside Chesapeake Bay town nestled on Maryland’s Eastern Shore thrives on water. When two researchers find a staggering level of toxicity in the water, they attempt to alert the mayor, but he refuses to create a panic. As a result, a deadly plague is unleashed, turning humans into hosts for a deadly, mutant breed of the parasite Cymothoa exigua.
What killed this film for me was the reporter played by Kether Donohue, this poor girl had nothing to work with, when it came to the plot. First off, she’s supposed to be this reporter on the run, with footage in her possession, that could blow the lid off The Bay controversy. The film starts with her , months after the event, giving this exclusive interview via Skype or something to some unknown group, of which we never find out who. The purpose is to show “them” this highly classified footage, but then it get’s worse. You think that if this is supposed to be stolen footage from the reporter whose been on the run, that the footage provided would be raw, not the case in The Bay. It goes from this interview to her footage on the day of the outbreak, complete with voice over dubbing and graphics that have clearly been done in some post production facility. She shows these “unknown interviewer’s” tons of video from the CDC (Center for Disease Control), police patrol cars, inside hospitals, personal digital cameras, cell phones and traffic lights…how she got it is beyond me and how she edited this stuff perfectly is even further beyond me. She never explains how she got the footage either and because the writer establishes, in the beginning, that all the footage is what she’s recovered, my belief was compromised from the get go. Were talking a perfectly edited documentary folks.
The film drags on in a vague attempt to create some character development, but it’s too late.The Mayor, the sheriff, the crazy ol coot basically “Mayberry” reaches no further than the surface. Everyone has their quote unquote moment, but it all falls flat.
Real quick, before I forget, there’s this doctor in the film. He is resident physician at the hospital in The Bay and is in communication with the uber-inept CDC throughout the whole film. From the start, he’s in constant contact with the infected as they start rolling in, but somehow this guy lives, until everyone else in his hospital is dead, then he dies? It’s laughable really.
This whole thing started because a Biblical amount of fish died along the bay, an event that would have easily caught the attention of not only folks living in that area, but the surrounding areas, however this event is so isolated you almost think it’s happening on an island. You never hear of people trying to leave or the National Guard being called in. Did this town not have cell phones or internet? It did, as a matter of fact, characters in the film are seen uploading images of their symptoms via youtube and still no hazmat suits arrive? Then you have the annoying scientists who had supposedly figured all this shit out, but died in the process. Their research footage is pretty hilarious. It’s a couple, a man and a woman. The woman is French and the man is American. We watch as they dissect fish left and right and show us random images on some sort of device that we are supposed to already know means, the bay is fucked, but for some reason these scientist don’t know shit. They say things that you or I could’ve figured out and despite how desperate the situation becomes the guys focus is not on this Earth shattering news about these prehistoric parasites, but that his partner’s accent is too strong for the camera or that the lighting is wrong. This guy is pulling an Alfred Hitchcock during a potential contagion.
I could keep going, but hopefully you guys understand what I mean with the little I’ve given you. I wanted this film to work, but how long can we keep this whole found footage thing going and if we intend to, why not make it fresh. That would’ve started by getting rid of the reporter, there was nothing she said that added weight to this situation. In the end, all her bullshit exposition would’ve been best served if we just watched all the footage she had,chronological or not, without her voice over and definitely without Adobe. That would’ve allowed us to put the pieces together ourselves. The writers were tripping over themselves to establish roles that ultimately did nothing for the film as a whole. A better story could’ve been told with generic captions telling us what we were watching. The film tried to build suspense and controversy when what we really wanted was insanity and mayhem. There wasn’t one moment that did that for me in The Bay. I’ve watched Paranormal Activity, Cat Fish and INSIDOUS and there were at least one, if not a few, moments in those films that had me at hello. Director Barry Levinson (Rain Man, Sleepers) is an amazing director, but this was not his finest hour.