What It’s About: A small town’s Fourth of July Crab Festival becomes a feast for an entirely different (and new) species.
Why Watch it Today?: The Bay takes place on July 4th, 2009. The film is an interesting experiment in found footage horror, not from a young filmmaker trying to break into the movies, but from an established director (Barry Levinson) breaking into a new genre and style. The result is far more polished (occasionally too polished) than most found footage horror films. The decision to make it a documentary put together by a survivor after the fact from multiple sources means it avoids many found footage clichés but at the same time the distance it gives us means this is less a straight horror film (although there are a couple of great scares) and more of a new hybrid. The result is worth a look if you enjoy experiments, especially if crustaceans and disease outbreaks get under your skin.
Other Choices: 1776 tells the story of the writing of the Declaration of Independence in wry musical form; Vigilante Force climaxes on the 4th of July with bank robbers dressed in red marching band uniforms squaring off against a shooting club dressed in coonskin caps; The Crowd emphasizes its character’s averageness with a July 4th birthday and dreams of being the President.
Man, I must have NOT been paying attention in 2012 or something. I had ZERO idea about this film, so thanks for this post. It’s added to my “shut up and watch it” list. Barry Levinson, huh? Who’d have thought he’d direct a horror flick? Then again, John Frankenheimer did Prophecy back in 1979 (but that turned out pretty badly!)…
It does have some problems-the fact this was made by professionals rather than cobbled together from found footage peeks at you at times, and the gimmick of having it be made by a young and inexperienced but passionate person means that it occasionally segues into being an impassioned plea for better care of the environment and more government transparency. Romero used the same excuse to make Diary of the Dead overly direct and didactic, although it’s no where near as annoying here as it was there. It’s an enjoyable experiment, even if it doesn’t work completely, though, and there are a few great scares.