The Bay (2012)

(On Cable TV, December 2014)  Now that we have entered the third or fourth stage of found-footage horror movies, it’s obvious that one camera isn’t enough: The Bay shows how a collage of personal video recording, TV footage, security cameras, dashcams, recorded video chats has become the state-of-the-art in showing how a small town is overrun by gross slimy monsters.  To its credit, The Bay does feature a striking monster and a deeper environmental them.  The problem is that The Bay doesn’t quite know what to do with what it has at its disposal.  It overplays some cards, underplays others, does itself no favours by blending its editing into fragments and calls attention to itself without actually deserving acclaim.  While the environmentally-conscious card is fine, it’s played far too often and far too stridently, making the same point long after the premise has been established.  Similarly, The Bay fools no one by making a claim to real events having occurred and being covered up.  While director Barry Levinson earns points by splitting its story in multiple found-footage streams, the film doesn’t actually present that many interesting characters –the most interesting story, featuring a family with a young baby, ends up concluding weakly without much of a climax.  The Bay repeatedly squanders what’s most interesting about itself to the point where it becomes just another runoff-the-mill horror film, perhaps a bit more annoying than most in how mediocre it ends up.

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