The Bay (US, 2012)

Genuinely chilling

Genuinely chilling

Although 1998’s The Blair Witch project pioneered the ‘found footage’ movie, it’s only recently that the form has thrived as the ubiquity of mobile phones and CCTV have made it easier to justify the existence of the footage. This Barry Levinson directed eco-horror is probably the best that I’ve seen, including Clovefield and REC. The monster is pollution-caused mutations in Chesapeake Bay, which the internet tells me does have ‘dead zones’. It’s July 4th, the all-American celebration, and a seaside town, similar to that in Jaws, doesn’t know what’s about to hit them.

The horror is helped by the ‘found footage’ form but is mostly generated by the… well, I won’t spoil. The source of the monsters, environmental disaster, reminds us of the creature-features on the 1950s where atomic radiation was the source of, for example, giant ants in Them! (1954). Even though such mutations didn’t come about, the force of the films’, to warn against atomic power, still remained. And so it will with eco-disaster movies, as we continue to fail to react, in a meaningful way, to our impact on the environment. We continue in the ‘age of stupid‘.


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