Beware the Water! The Bay (2012) DVD Review
**WARNING: SOME SPOILERS INCLUDED**
Decent found footage films are hard to come by within the genre due to the over-commercialized Paranormal Activity franchise and the predictable V/H/S however The Bay which has recently been released on DVD in the UK puts an effective spin on how to use this type of filmmaking effectively.
The Bay is told mainly through the eyes of aspiring reporter Donna Thompson (played by Kether Donohue) re-telling the tragedy of the idyllic seaside town located in Maryland. On the 4th of July 2009, celebrations soon turned deadly for the close-knit community with the outbreak of toxicity discovered in the water- the basis of what the town thrives on, giving life to a parasite cymothoa exigua that quickly mutates through the residents! The opening moments of the film give off a bittersweet tone, viewing families enjoying themselves with the prior knowledge that complete devastation is about to be unleashed upon them.
The protagonist of the film is Donna, and the majority is her take on events however what makes The Bay stand out above other films of its kind is the amount of external footage used such as Skype, Video cameras, digital cameras and mobile phones to give a variety of perspectives and accounts on the devastation and how the community were truly affected; these methods also demonstrate the technological world we live in and how life is now lived through the media due to the accessibility of it.
Unlike most horror films, The Bay uses simple but effective techniques to achieve its scare tactics, it touches on the notions of government conspiracy and the lengths they’ll go to cover up the truth as well as the pure ignorance that could have prevented the whole ordeal in the first place. It has minimalistic jump scares but when it does it depicts true horror, there are plenty of eerie sequences particularly towards the end of the film. But the biggest sense of dread is created through the setting, the picturesque location of sea and sunshine contrasts the terror surrounding the area. The film guarantees plenty of squirm-worthy moments leaving the viewer feeling unnerved.
The performances are naturalistic and create a sense of empathy between the spectator and the characters as they address the viewers in an informative way. Other than Donna, the most empathetic characters are seen is the doctor who’s attempting to cure those who are infected and Stephanie (Kristen Connolly), a young wife and mother who unfortunately stumbles on the tragedy when its too late! The accumulation of footage really depicts a sense of realism and keeps the audience gripped until the end! Highly recommended for those who want something a bit different from the genre.
The Bay does what Jaws did back in the 70’s!
Hayley Alice Roberts.