Sunday, October 13, 2013

Three Short Paragraphs: The Bay

2012, Barry Levinson (Rain Man, Wag the Dog) -- download

I wanted to start this review with, "Yep, that is right, a director so Hollywood famous that you know his name, did a B-grade found-footage horror movie." But then I looked at Levinson's IMDB listing and, well, his heyday was quite a while ago. Not that there is anything wrong with that; one thing fame in Hollywood should afford is the right to take things easy, slow down and do the kind of movies you want to, instead of what is just handed to you by the producers having those cafe meetings I always imagine.  But, my point is, he is not trying to make a come back with this, he is not damaging his career, he is just doing a pointed movie about a topic that interested him, in genre fashion.

The movie takes place in a small Chesapeake Bay town. Pieced together from  "found footage", our main character was a fledgling reporter who saw it all first hand. She is coming clean about the ecological disaster caused by sewage run off from a chicken farm. I am not going to spoil anything by saying to you that the stars of the movie are the isopods. Go ahead, Google it. They are the water born cousins of sow bugs that can grow to horror-movie sized critters. And one breed of them is known to eat the tongue of certain types of fish. So, you can see the easy setup here. We are already creeped out by them.

Levinson had read about how Chesapeake Bay was becoming an ecological dead zone due to factory run-offs and other human created contaminates. He wanted to do a movie that brought this to light and ended up with a horror movie, that succeeds in pointing out what is going on, but exaggerates things to the n-th degree. This is not a ground-breaker, not a new revolution in horror film making. It is just a decently done, solidly told story that is equal parts Jaws, zombie movie (think the bio-contaminates ones) and infection movie. It also has hints of the 60s coldwar horror movie, where denial of any wrong-doing plays a big part. But I still wonder whether Levinson sees himself as succeeding, or not, in this genre.

P.S. Nope, no 31 Days of Halloween this year. But we are going to attempt to do a Countdown to Halloween on the last week. I will be starting a new job that week, so maybe.