Bay, The (2012): Levinson’s Found-Footage Eco Thriller

Barry Levinson intended The Bay, a found-footage horror feature, written by Michael Wallach, to be a scary cautionary eco tale for adult viewers.

He decided to use the found footage format after thinking about the Pompeii disaster and planned a documentary (which didn’t materialize). 

World premiering at the 2012 Toronto Film Fest, the film was released November 2, 2012.

The premise: Some crucial footage had been confiscated by the U.S. government until an anonymous source leaked it to the public.

On July 4, 2009, a seaside Chesapeake Bay town on Maryland’s Eastern Shore thrives on water. When two researchers find a staggering toxicity in the water, they alert the mayor, but he refuses to take action fearing a collective panic.

As a result, a deadly plague is unleashed, turning humans into hosts for a deadly, mutant breed of the isopod parasite Cymothoa exigua.

A young inexperienced reporter and her cameraman are around to report on the July 4 festivities, when they stumble upon the plague and observe the town in a state of chaos as the aggressive creatures infect more and more people.

Two oceanographers, who first discovered the parasites, are joined by two police deputies investigating a residential area.

Other characters include a young unsuspecting couple taking a swim, and a teenage girl using FaceTime to send a desperate message to a friend.

There’s also a young married couple with an infant who sail to their family’s home for a holidays reunion, unaware of the horrific events.

Though the film is set in his home state of Maryland, it was shot on locations in North and South Carolina.

The film has received mostly positive reviews from critics (76% “certified fresh” on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes)