The Bay - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Bay Reviews

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Super Reviewer
April 28, 2013
two stars
Super Reviewer
April 6, 2013
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.
Super Reviewer
½ November 26, 2012
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.
Super Reviewer
½ October 22, 2012
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.
Super Reviewer
½ November 1, 2012
Levison uses some pretty cheap tricks throughout that bothered me, however he still manages to find a sense of urgency and relevancy in the "found footage" genre. Its not about vague supernatural elements, but rather a well defined (and unsettling) outbreak that's the result of environmental contamination.
Super Reviewer
March 4, 2013
Found footage type horror that attempts to explain the random hordes of dead fishes and wildlife that have been turning up over the past few years. As this is something that has been actually happening it immediately grabs your attention and does a pretty good attempt at keeping it as the inhabitants of a small seaside town start getting infected around July 4th which makes any forthcoming celebrations pretty unlikely. The majority of the footage relies on that of an inexperienced reporter who initially thinks shes at the scene of a murder due to people turning up all bloody and stuff. Again, this adds a bit of realism. But while watching The Bay you can't help shake off the "not another fucking found footage movie" feeling plus theres the odd burst of incident music which clearly takes away any realism and moves the film into normal film territory. The Bay definitely has its moments and is worth a look but ultimately is a bit of a mixed bag.
Francisco G.
Super Reviewer
½ December 16, 2012
I admire a director who's not afraid on tackling completly different genres and I commend Barry Levinson on approaching the found footage genre but he doesn't seem to have made his homework well. The goods: the way the found footage is made is fantastic. It uses everything from skype videos, cellphone videos, news reports, police car cameras amongst other gimmicks. I never felt took away from the movie and the perspectives and editing is pretty good. The worse is that most of the characters and story are forgetable and you can't feel much of a connection to them. But the real killer is the use of sound. Most found footage flicks work wonders on scaring you because you don't have audio cues or soundtrack to warn you of what will happen and these scares come as unpredictable on most cases. The Bay is riddled with bad choices: from super loud scares, to annoying music everywhere, little drones that tip you off, etc. It completly kills the atmosphere that the multiple found footage videos created at first.

It's worth a shot for fans of the director and genre but a missed opportunity overal.
½ October 8, 2015
The bay relies on clever mokumentary storytelling and dread over gore to produce a realistic and compelling eco-horror that's sure to please those wanting smart horror.
½ February 24, 2015
This isn't exactly a "found footage" movie -- more of a "fictional documentary" that includes a bunch of purported "found footage" with a narrative frame. In any case it is effectively done. Probably the best use of the "found footage" gimmick that I've seen since Cloverfield. It is also a very effective horror film that dips deep into resources of paranoia about environmental pollution, about corporate greed and duplicity, and about government incompetence and secrecy.
½ February 11, 2015
This film is a time waster & offers no true horror fan anything they will enjoy. Featuring a weak script, acting, along with choppy story telling it essentially knocks off Hitchcock's The Birds which I highly suggest you opt for instead.
December 13, 2014
A "found footage" horror movie about the parasitic invasion of a bay in Maryland and the resultant havoc it wrecks on a seaside town. An on the scene university reporter unearths the conspiracy to cover up the facts that led to the event happening when it could have been avoided if town leadership had taken action. The effects are slightly above average, especially if slimy parasites get you squirming, but the acting is on the poorer side. "Found footage" movies rarely are my thing, and this is no different.
April 12, 2013
passed this up at the redbox and decided to give it a shot when i saw that there was so many good reviews on here and thought it was going to be based on real events.

'twas disappointing and definitely not the intelligent thriller a lot of reviewers are saying that it was. maybe a step up from a cabin in the woods sort of horror flick but, aside from a few startling scenes, it was just over-all gruesome, hard to get into, and unimpressive.
November 11, 2014
Not bad for Barry Levinson's horror film. If you thought that the movie was going to be a zombie film based on the trailer, you're wrong, but I understand why you thought that. The cast was good, and it was interesting. While I wasn't scared from it even though there few scares that got me, but what got me scared was the fact that it can happen to us. I find it refreshing and the only things I remember that done something like that were Contagion and The Last Of Us. The found footage was well done too which is somewhat rare in found footage films these days. It is a bit boring however and there's nothing exciting in it either. If you want to know what the creature is going to do, I say look it up on the internet if you are impatient, but for patient viewers, go check it out.
November 1, 2014
A horror film that gets too distracted with its eco message and its faux documentary format that it can't overcome. There are some good scares here, but nothing that will make you jump out of your seat. The bugs were pretty freaky, and the infections made you cringe. However, the cast is so terrible that they made you cringe as well.

For the first half of the film, you're slightly intrigued, but you keep getting distracted by the poor documentary techniques. By the third act, the film has fallen so deep into its eco-friendly message that you stop being scared, instead you're just annoyed.
October 16, 2014
Freaky stuff because you know this could really happen. I'm no scientist but it's possible that it could happen any day. I loved the town it was filmed in and the thrill of watching a character not know what is going on with the threat of them being possible infected. Such an interesting concept. Try it out!
October 14, 2014
Made me jump 5 times sitting in my living room. Must get through the first 5 minutes for the movie to really start.
September 25, 2014
After a dozen films with mostly first-time directors, "The Bay" intrigued me because I was curious to see what acclaimed director Barry Levinson would bring to the found footage genre of horror films. As sad as it is to report, the answer is "not much."

It's a bold and brave move for one of America's most beloved filmmakers to tackle a tiny and low-budget film like this, but it should have been so much more than it is. The gamble definitely did not pay off. The premise should be scary enough, as the film attempts to make a statement on pollution and shady government practices, and it certainly is believable enough in this day and age.

The problem is that this is not particularly scary, and neither is the film as a whole. It's much too laid back to be an effective horror film, as it fails to reach the fever pitch necessary to make it successful. It's also quite maddening to see the lack of concern from the government agencies involved, from the state's governor to the CDC all the way down to the local politicians and police force that are featured prominently here. It's improbable that any American city, regardless of size, would be left to die without any kind of federal involvement.

The look of the film is kept fresh die to the constantly changing forms of photography used from TV cameras to cell phone footage, but that's faint praise indeed when you consider the story is not worth following. Considering the talent involved, it's even more aggravating that "The Bay" is this listless and forgettable. A great premise is squandered and all we're left with is the usual bag of tricks.
August 22, 2014
Barry Levinson's "The Bay" is not your typical found footage film. It is more of a documentary discussing the tragic events through compiled footage. Much like the reality shows on TLC or History Channel. The story revolves around a bay harbor town in Maryland nestled in the Chesapeake Bay area and the ecological disaster that unfolds. This movie stars Kristen Connolly, Jane McNeill and Christopher Denham but they are not the sole maestro's of this dark tale. Told through the lenses of multiple television reporter footage, video camera's ranging from surveillance, camcorder and web cam footage there are a host of doomed characters in this film that play out a horrendous scenario in almost too realistic fashion. The story unfolds with an eerie calm and warning much in the way real life tends to play out in the digital age with attention being demanded to certain social flaws, lack of protection for environment, responsible consumerism or proper understanding of consequences of commercialism. Only this film brings the worlds of doom-n-gloomer's and human irresponsibility full force into a hellish realization. The story is a cross between environmental disaster and creature feature, yet is 100% nightmare.

"The Bay" manages to string together a very intense and creepy story by pulling you into the film through a witness of the disaster who managed to survive. A lot of people in this poor town did not! You would think the compiling of so many different types of footage from so many different video sources would be choppy or confusing but in this film's case it runs smoothly and allows you not get wrapped into the story almost becoming unaware that it is a found footage styled movie. I felt like I was watching the real terror unfold after the event. Much like I tend to watch those shows that relive the disaster's our world lives daily around the globe in order to find warning signs and learn for better preparedness of the future. I was surprised by how invested in this film I became as I sat with my eyes bugged out, holding my breath and cringing at all the gory goodness "The Bay" offers. I loved this movie.
½ July 30, 2014
An oddly creepy fictional documentary. It gives the perfect amount of realism to a nightmarish event. But those who don't like documentaries might just want to. Avoid it due to boredom.
June 29, 2014
Pretty dumb movie if you ask me I only watched it to see this "Claridge" MD which come to find out was not even filmed in MD. I'll stick with The Blair Witch Project
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