31 Days of Reviews: The Bay

This was another movie that I had in my queue. I didn’t really know what I was going to be getting myself into, but what I got was nothing like what I was expecting.

The Bay is a found footage movie about a disastrous plague that wiped out the population of Claridge, Maryland on July 4th, 2009.

I really liked the story behind this movie. It was very conspiracy theory, wiki-leaks formatted. The movie uses a variety of different cameras from a good pool of people who were alive on the day the disaster happened. The base narration of the movie is given by a young woman named Donna who was a communication student, covering the event at the time.

While I did really like the overall story, the camera work is really shaky and hard to watch during the first portion of the movie. As it progresses, the footage becomes more stationary, captured from security cameras, webcam conversations, and much more steady hands. This allowed me to really focus on the story I was being told.

My thoughts on found footage movies come from a mixed bag. I feel like they can be really powerful, if done right, and there are some circumstances and criteria that must be met in order for the movie to be really good. Shaky camera work isn’t the best. It’s hard to focus on. I know several people who get motion sickness from it and therefore can’t watch the movies at all. It just works better if your handheld camera is not the handheld camera of an amateur who can’t keep a steady shot.

This movie is another one where the makeup and special effects were done really well. Especially with it being from a variety of different cameras in a lot of different formats, the effects translate between iPhones, security cameras, webcams and HD very well.

When the movie was over, I was left with a couple of questions unanswered. Why did some people not get sick, for example? I wish that some of this would have been explained further rather than been brought up as a last minute speculation.

The message of the movie is very ecological, extremely so. It speaks to a level about the lengths people will go to in order to cover something up that they don’t want revealed to the public, including censorship, downed cell towers and the like. For me personally, other than something I really wasn’t expecting to jump out at me at the end of the movie, the scariest part was the cover up, the slow response of the government to something catastrophic, the little amount of help that a caring doctor could provide, and the idea that a small town is less worthy of concern than a big city. The movie fuses found footage with social commentary, and I would say it’s done pretty well.

Overall, this movie has a pretty interesting story and I do recommend it. You just have to have a stronger stomach to make it through the first portion of found footage. It does get better from then on out. The Bay is available for streaming on Netflix.


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