Monday, September 30, 2013

The Bay (2012)

I should start this post by saying that I went into The Bay (2012) with extremely low expectations, which I do think helped it out a lot. It started when I told Rob that he could pick a movie on Netflix. In our house, “picking a movie on Netflix” actually means “selecting two movies and giving the other person a choice because neither of us is capable of making an actual decision or accepting responsibility for anything.” Rob picked The Bay and something else that sounded so bad, I can’t even remember. Because I am a baby, I balked at both choices and he was like, “but we’ve watched everything on Netflix that’s good already! And this is less than an hour and a half!”

Infallible argument.

Then I noticed that The Bay was directed by Barry Levinson, who has directed a few movies I actually like, such as Sleepers and Rain Man (if only because I use the phrase “I…I’m an excellent driver” at least twice a month) and he was very recently the executive producer of the excellent BBC America television drama “Copper” which was just cancelled at the end of the second season and I am terribly bummed about it. So okay, this might have potential but I was not holding my proverbial breath. 

Capitalizing on the ‘found footage’ trend—which I generally sort of dislike because shaky camera work makes me feel nauseated and I’m old, so like, just make me a movie and make me like it, okay?—The Bay is narrated by a young woman named Donna Thompson who is recounting the horrific events of a 4th of July town celebration in a seaside Maryland town along the Chesapeake Bay. It splices together scenes of Donna reporting as an intern for the local TV news station and a few other footage sources: an ER doctor who tries valiantly to clean up the mess, the CDC who are basically bureaucratic jerks (obviously) and then personal footage from a handful of other sources: a teen girl who is FaceTiming her friend, the camera from inside a police car, the personal footage from a young couple with a baby who are sailing to the town and have no idea what has happened there. We also see clips from a duo of oceanographers who had been researching the bay and were found dead months before the July 4 debacle.

The town thrives on seaside tourism and the poultry farming industry but lo and behold, the chicken farmers had been allowing runoff to roll into the bay, tainting the water supply. Suddenly, at the 4th of July festivities, people start breaking out into these disgusting skin boils and blisters, as though their flesh was eating itself from the inside. The entire town is swept into chaos and the hospital is overfilled. Bodies begin to litter the streets. We don’t yet know what’s causing the symptoms, but there are a bunch of excellently gross flesh-eating shots.

At this time I was really involved in dipping olives into hummus (only god can judge me) and actually started feeling pretty queasy, to Marley the fattest cat in the world's benefit.

Long story short, the environment! And corporate greed! And government coverups! Eventually, through the research of the late oceanographers, we find out that the culprit is not a flesh-eating bacteria caused by the toxicity of the water but in fact, GIANT ISOPODS. Isopods have really come into their own over the last few years thanks to internet memes, and I’m glad to see them getting their due as the horrifying and disgusting creatures they are.

Original here.

The big question is: how can these isopods grow to be such giant fucking monsters? And the answer is: steroids from the chicken farming runoff. They are growing so fast, they are like little crustaceous pro wrestlers. At this point, we start to see giant, juiced-up isopods EMERGING FROM THE LESIONS IN PEOPLE’S SKIN WHY, WHY IS THIS A THING? 

Ultimately, most of the town is wiped out by the isopod invasion and the government covers it up with a story about unseasonably warm water temperatures or something.

While The Bay was less horror and more “eco-documentary/warning-The-Happening-without-Marky-Mark’s-muscles-or-M.-Night-Shamalama’s-poor-storytelling”, it was still pretty sicknasty and a decent way to spend less than an hour and a half. As long as Netflix can keep movies that meet my low low expectations rolling in, I feel that my $17/month is well spent.

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