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The Bay (2012)



Average Rating: 6.6/10
Reviews Counted: 69
Fresh: 53 | Rotten: 16

Barry Levinson's eco-horror flick cleverly utilizes familiar found-footage methods in service of a gruesome yet atmospheric chiller.


Average Rating: 6.2/10
Critic Reviews: 22
Fresh: 15 | Rotten: 7

Barry Levinson's eco-horror flick cleverly utilizes familiar found-footage methods in service of a gruesome yet atmospheric chiller.



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Average Rating: 3/5
User Ratings: 8,725

My Rating

Movie Info

Two million fish washed ashore. One thousand blackbirds dropped from the sky. On July 4, 2009 a deadly menace swept through the quaint seaside town of Claridge, Maryland, but the harrowing story of what happened that Independence Day has never been told - until now. The authorities believed they had buried the truth about the tragedy that claimed over 700 human lives. Now, three years later, a reporter has emerged with footage revealing the cover-up and an unimaginable killer: a mysterious



Mar 5, 2013


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All Critics (69) | Top Critics (22) | Fresh (53) | Rotten (16) | DVD (3)

More coherent and thought-provoking than most 'found-footage' horror movies, this should appeal to genre fans and eco-activists alike.

February 26, 2013 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Although there are some scary moments here, and a lot of gruesome ones, this isn't a horror film so much as a faux eco-documentary.

November 8, 2012 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Comments (3)
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

[Levinson] demonstrates he can make a shakycam found-footage horror movie every bit as fake-looking, clumsy and unscary as your average college student working on a $200 budget.

November 2, 2012 Full Review Source: New York Post
New York Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A ripped-from-the-headlines psychological chiller that burrows under the skin with its terrifyingly local twist.

November 2, 2012 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Like a "Blair Witch Project" for thinking adults, one that's scary in two distinct ways.

November 1, 2012 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The story becomes more ridiculous as it escalates, the film's over-determined ecological focus undermining any real horror movie tension.

November 1, 2012 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's a low-budget film, but often has effective death sequences with moderately good special effects. If only we could move away from the shaky-cam storytelling, I would be so much happier.

March 19, 2013 Full Review Source: Movie Chambers
Movie Chambers

Even though multiple-sourced footage remains a potentially interesting way to shoot a movie, using this particular framing device really has become redundant.

March 3, 2013 Full Review Source: Scotsman

The tension is well enough sustained, the horrors build steadily, the eco message is familiar.

March 3, 2013 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

Gruesome but oddly riveting.

March 1, 2013 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

Seeking to merge the conventions of found-footage horror with targeted social commentary, the film does its job with some skill ...

March 1, 2013 Full Review Source: This is London
This is London

I am within a catfish's whisker of giving this film five stars; best to stop me before I elevate it to the ranks of Vertigo and Citizen Kane.

February 28, 2013 Full Review Source: Financial Times
Financial Times

It's cleverly put together, the threat nicely revealed via various footage and is never over exaggerated to such an extent that it loses touch with reality.

February 28, 2013 Full Review Source: The List
The List

Effective but hollow, The Bay is a minor work from a director lost at sea.

February 28, 2013 Full Review Source: Little White Lies
Little White Lies

A largely ineffective and ponderous movie that harnesses many of the worst elements of both the horror genre and the found footage trope.

February 26, 2013 Full Review Source: Digital Spy
Digital Spy

All prologue and no pay-off, but compelling all the same, this curio plays out like Diary Of The Dead with more diaries and fewer dead.

February 17, 2013 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

Paranormal Activity creator Oren Peli helps that old dog Barry Levinson learn some new tricks in The Bay.

January 8, 2013 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Levinson's film proves something pretty unequivocally - any conceit, any style, be it found footage or shakycam or haunted house or whatever, can be great in the hands of a good filmmaker.

December 28, 2012 Full Review Source: Twitch

Barry Levinson makes the point that when a top flight filmmaker takes on a beaten-to-death genre -- found footage horror -- he or she can raise the bar, even if they don't reinvent the wheel.

December 11, 2012 Full Review Source: McClatchy-Tribune News Service
McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Faux-doc "TV coverage" device isn't the most convincing.

November 29, 2012 Full Review Source: East Bay Express
East Bay Express

The film's intimate approach smartly mixes genre conventions with modern technology, and the script is just plausible enough to generate some real suspense.

November 22, 2012 Full Review Source:

... effective and entertaining and has such a different voice than most horror movies that it should really surprise audiences.

November 15, 2012 Full Review Source: HitFix

[VIDEO ESSAY] Leave it to master-filmmaker Barry Levinson ("Diner") to show just what is possible with the found-footage horror trope.

November 14, 2012 Full Review Source:

Levinson's understanding of character elevates what could have been an absolute disaster but can't save the film from its genre failures and lack of tension.

November 9, 2012 Full Review Source:

Levinson cuts through the unrelenting nonsense that plagues so many of these efforts, preying on everyday fears to fashion a terror tale that slips right under the skin.

November 8, 2012 Full Review Source:

Audience Reviews for The Bay

two stars
April 28, 2013
MisterYoda ?

Super Reviewer

Great idea for a horror film, but it lacks originality and real scares. The Bay is yet another documentary style horror film that we've seen many times before. The film is mediocre and lacks anything really engaging. The problem with this genre is that it's over done. Filmmakers tend to recycle the same formula and in turn the material on-screen suffers significantly in terms of telling something that is supposed to be truly suspenseful and terrifying. The found footage genre is overdone and pointless. The last good film in this horror genre was V/H/S, and in my opinion, they should have ended that genre with that film. The problem with The Bay is that it is a predictable film and you know how it will turn out. There simply isn't anything worthwhile here to make it a truly good horror yarn. I really wanted to enjoy, unfortunately, this was yet another unsatisfying found footage film that is clichéd and scare free. This film was produced by the same guys who created the Paranormal Activity films, and though the first three films in that series were genuinely scary, the formula that the filmmakers keep using becomes tiresome and all too predictable. There's only so much you can do with this formula before it becomes boring. The formula worked well with Paranormal Activity and other films. However with The Bay, it just doesn't deliver and it is a bland affair with no genuine scares and in turn it becomes a tiresome, dull horror film that just doesn't terrify. I really expected a great film with this one; unfortunately it is a mediocre horror film that will disappoint you if you're looking for something fresh to watch. The Bay contains scenes that we've seen many times before and it ventures into old territory that simply isn't interesting due to a lacking script that relies on a clichéd idea that cheats the audience. Stick with the older found footage film as they're far better than this.
April 7, 2013
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

When so-called "respectable" film-makers make an attempt at the horror genre, it rarely yields positive results. Levinson is the latest to show a complete lack of what makes horror work with this found-footage flick with an environmental message.
The residents of a small coastal town are struck down by minute sea creatures who have infected the water supply. We've seen a lot of boring found-footage movies but this really takes the biscuit, mainly consisting of characters speaking to camera about the horror of what's occurring. Back to dramas Mister Levinson, this clearly isn't your domain.
November 26, 2012
The Movie Waffler

Super Reviewer

The Bay is a message hidden within a film, similar to 2008's the Happening, The Bay tells of the consequences of destroying our environment. In this film, dumping into the Chesapeake Bay has caused a harmless fish parasite to evolve into a human killer. What makes this film unique is the way in which it was shot. The film is shot as a documentary that was posted on a fictional Wikileaks type site, and tells the story of the outbreak in a small Maryland town, on July 4th. The cinematography is made up of everything you'd see at a small town festival, camcorders, cell phone cameras, news footage, police dash-cams, and security cameras. Through a collection of footage from the day, we are told the story of the outbreak by one of the only survivors, who had to let the world know of this tragedy that was covered up by the U.S. government. The different angles and the fact that their really weren't any main characters also make this film unique. The story really isn't much, as it just like a million other horror films. Everything is normal, until people start getting sick, and chaos ensues. It's not the story or even the actors that keep you interested in this film, it's the different pieces put together in documentary form by the narrator, Kether Donohue. Without the narration, it's just a collection of web clips, but there is some interest in finding out what happened to each of the people we see and in seeing them figure out what's going on at the same time that we do. It's not a great story and there aren't any stand out performances, but the film itself is done in such a unique way, that it will be like nothing you've ever seen before. Yes, The Bay is another way of telling us about the dangers of not caring for our environment, in a story that is severely lacking imagination, but it's worth seeing, simply from a stylistic point of view.
August 29, 2013

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