FILM: The Bay

Once you learn what an isopod is in Barry Levinson’s new biological thriller, The Bay, the thrill is pretty much gone. Recapped by Donna (Kether Donohue), the film takes us through the fictional events that took place on the Fourth of July, 2009, in Claridge, Maryland. Three years ago Donna was a bumbling intern reporting on a festival in Claridge when things started to go awry. Everyone in the crab-eating contest began vomiting. As the Jaws meets Contagion plot develops you learn the vomiting as well as the scores of dead fish in the bay are linked to the nearby chicken processing plant and the pollution it’s leaking into the water. Those pollutants are affecting its marine life, (including the ever-increasingly dangerous isopods), as well as almost everyone who comes in contact with the water. Patients begin pouring into the town’s hospital and an overwhelmed Dr. Abrams (Stephen Kunken) contacts the CDC. He has not a clue what is wrong with his blister-covered patients and is understandably frustrated with the CDC’s snail-paced, problem-solving skills. Kunken’s performance was my favorite in the film.

In addition to the video footage of Donna’s reporting, the rest of the story is told through cell phone footage, web cams and personal camera footage resulting in something like a documentary too far removed from its subjects for any connection with its audience. From the beginning of the movie, you already know something bad happened and the government covered it up, so once you learn what is responsible for wreaking havoc, the film isn’t scary enough to keep your interest. Now, if the isopods could only fly…

The Bay is running in select theaters nationwide.

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