The Bay (2012) – Movie Review

The Bay (2012) - Movie Review

Watched this little beauty about five times now and I always get the same feeling when sitting through it – itchy stuff!

Have no idea why it’s taken me so long to get around to including it here on the site – think it’s just one of those titles I keep on forgetting about!

Anyway, when you are confronted by a Found Footage effort that is directed by legendary filmmaker Barry Levinson, you know you are in for some kinda treat!

The Bay does not disappoint…

The Plot

The film is set out as a mockumentary that recounts the tragic events during a large Fourth of July celebration in Chesapeake Bay.

Halfway through the popular celebration a handful of locals break out in massive boils, blisters and abrasions.

One thing leads to another and it’s not long before the local doctor is amputating arms, legs…well just about anything!

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that there is some sort of virus on the spread – but what is behind this rather gross new illness?

Turns out the cause is a lot closer to home than first thought…


There have been a handful of Found Footage efforts over the last decade or so that have managed to succeed even before they were released.

This is down to one thing and one thing only – the acting!

Barry Levinson is no dickhead – he knew from the start that ANY Found Footage plot could be a success as long as the correct actors were in place.

It’s the actors that make the atmosphere tick – it’s the actors that make the whole process believable.

And that’s what happened here!


I struggle to believe that there are any Found Footage fans out there that did not enjoy this film – it ticks just about every box (in my opinion!).

The film is largely narrated by Donna Thompson (Kether Donohue), a local TV news intern who was sent to get coverage of the July 4th celebrations.

I think that Kether was an excellent choice of lead as she managed to settle on both sides of the fence.

What I mean by this is that she was both a perfect fit for the plot and an annoying cow at the same time!

I’m not being cruel here – I think Levinson went for this and I also think that Kether played it perfectly!

I found the film’s plot entirely plausible – we are warned about this sort of Eco-system problem on a daily basis and it makes for a rather chilling horror/science fiction experience.

One of the primary downfalls of Found Footage movies is that you can often see the construction behind them – Levinson manages to remove this from the experience completely.

Each live shot, security camera, Skype interview and TV report seems to have been layered flawlessly.

You can see why this dude has been involved in so many popular features over the years.

This film is the result of a talented director studying the genre beforehand and highlighting the recipes that work.

It’s well worth watching.



  1. Yeah, this one was a pretty good effort. I found it easy to immerse myself in the film.

  2. One of my faves. Part of why I like this one so much is the sheer diverse sources of footage. Usually just a cam or 2 but this one has a bunch from all over the place…really immerses u into it.

    • Yeah they really went to town on this one – it sort of gets a little bit better every time I watch it!

  3. I’m happy to see The Bay at this site. It’s one of my favorites, too. I agree about the multiple sources and perspectives; it definitely added to both the quality and fear factors. The acting is great, too, and even features a somewhat recognizable face in Christopher Denham, who’s been in a number of films and currently co-stars on a US TV show called “Manhattan”.

    The one thing I wish they had done different was ditch the “Wikileaks” plot and just done the movie as a a straightforward documentary. The area where the story takes place is only an hour or so from Washington, DC, in a very densely populated part of the country. It’s not out in the middle of nowhere. The chances of an event of this magnitude being covered up in this day of social media and with about a million journos based 60 minutes away is zero. We have to take FF plots with a grain of salt, but, with a production at this level of budget, I think it’s OK to expect fewer gross violations of logic than in the typical “college students grab a camera and pretend their roommate is becoming possessed” youtube-type offering.

    But that quibble doesn’t change the fact that overall this is a very good film. Probably on my Top 10 list (which would probably have about 20 films on it :D).

    • Yeah this did have various elements that put it above 99% of other Found Footage efforts out there. The only thing that truly got on my tits was the female lead – I thought she was a good actor but I just couldn’t take to her mannerisms! Terrible thing to say but she just grinds on me, great film all the same though!

  4. I was mixed on this one. I feel like the film felt quite dull in a lot of places, and the parasites didn’t really have the “shock and horrify” factor that I was really expecting out of them. The film’s sense of realism is great and the acting was fine, I just felt it was a bit bland and unengaging most of the time. If you loved it though, more power to you.

    • No problem Will – opinions are opinions and nothing more (mine are no more important than anyone else’s…well that’s what I keep telling myself anyway!) 🙂

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