Another year continues and so does the output of Found Footage films. After last year’s somewhat disappointing foray into the genre, we can only hope this year brings more consistency. 2012’s terrible Project X and The Devil Inside served as a reminder that the genre may be on its last legs. Then again, Josh Trank’s energetic and ingenious Chronicle proved otherwise. So what can be expected this year, well if this trailer for The Bay is anything to go by, you can expect something potentially interesting.
From the Academy Award Winning Director Barry Levinson (Good Morning, Vietnam and Rain Man) comes this Eco-driven Horror. The film seems to tell the story of a viral outbreak that occurred July 4th 2009 in Claridge, MD. This outbreak was caught on cameras. The footage was confiscated by the US Government but has now been leaked by an anonymous source. Same old Found Footage narrative device but what The Bay seems to be all about is far more interesting than it may appear. From the 911 opening, to the slow build of events escalating into full, zombie-like outbreak, this film seems to be way more than another Blair Witch Project imitator.
This could well be the film that Contagion failed to be, a very real testament to the source of viral catastrophe. A film that casts its eye over Government conspiracy, cover-ups and almost paranoid “what are they putting in the water” fears. The Bay on the evidence of its trailer has something to say, from its message of environmental damage to the mounting fears of covering up tracks. If The Bay can capitalize on the interest aroused by this trailer, the film could be a very thought-provoking piece of work.
Still there are flaws evident here. The very gimmicky climax to the trailer is a tad worrying, when compared to the far more effective (and less overt) earlier moments. There is also the odd visual effect jar but as films like Troll Hunter and Cloverfield have shown, if you get the tone, writing and delivery right, the visual effects seem to matter less. The interesting thing is to see such a director attached to the project; the film is also from the producers of Paranormal Activity and Insidious. There is plenty of talent here and the less big name cast, makes for a more pronounced realism.
The question is, will The Bay be ideologically far reaching or will it just serve as a curio in Found Footage? In this respect the trailer suggests it could swing either way. There are moments here of social meaning and an embraced sense of intrigue, with a few eyebrow-raising moments of peril. As well as a creepy (if noisy) backing soundtrack to the events. This trailer tells you nothing firm about how The Bay will turn out and may show signs of convention. Yet on the flipside, the trailer suggests that The Bay has all the tools to be something far more than a random entry in the handheld cannon.
Roobla eagerly awaits the results, as The Bay is released to select cinemas on March 1st.
Take a look and share your thoughts.