The Bay

5.71 h 25 min2012X-RayR
HD. In this terrifying eco-horror tale, a mysterious parasitic outbreak wreaks havoc on a small seaside town.
Barry Levinson
Will RogersKristen ConnollyKether Donohue
Science FictionSuspenseHorror
English [CC]
Audio languages
EnglishEnglish [Audio Description]
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Supporting actors
Frank DealStephen KunkenChristopher DenhamNansi Aluka
Barry LevinsonJason BlumBrian Kavanaugh-JonesPaul A. LevinSpencer MedofLiam O'DonnellOren PeliSteven SchneiderJason SosnoffColin Strause
R (Restricted)
Content advisory
Alcohol usefoul languagesexual contentviolence
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4.2 out of 5 stars

2048 global ratings

  1. 60% of reviews have 5 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

Tim F. MartinReviewed in the United States on September 7, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Entertaining found footage horror film with an ecological bent (but still lots of death)
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Entertaining found footage horror film, I had read some of the reviews before hand that the ecological message may have been heavy handed but I didn’t think so and I think the ecological parts were integral to the plot. Essentially the movie is a compilation of leaked footage (suppressed by the federal government) from camcorders (not cell phones I guess, the movie is set in 2009), various online video chats, security camera footage, and police cruiser and bodycam type footage about a horrible outbreak in a small Maryland town on July 4, 2009. The town, Claridge, on the Chesapeake Bay on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, was all set to have a wonderful Independence Day celebration with families playing in the water, a festival/carnival, a crab-eating contest, and fireworks, only Something Horrible happened and a substantial portion of the town died in agony that day and night. With a narrator, a young reporter who was there that day and night (Donna Thompson, played by Kether Donohue), the film pieces together the events of that day, using a variety of sources showing the idyllic nature of the town, the slow at first progression of the disease, what a doctor at the local hospital makes of what is happening, the views of the CDC (via Skype I think), footage from local deputies who responded to the crisis, security camera footage, and some camcorder type footage of those who saw and experienced (and in some cases died) that day.

I won’t spoil what happened but it isn’t zombies or any kind of undead or pseudo undead. It seems like disease but it wasn’t entirely disease and was fairly novel. Many times the film is more horror than terror, with revulsion at the nature of the ailment and the deaths of those who suffered from it, though there is terror as characters come to terms with the threat or just understanding that things are Very Wrong. I find found footage films hit or miss but to me the film is a hit. Some of the science was surprisingly not too far off, at least in terms of inspiration (not an actual threat). I found the movie engrossing and recommend it.
11 people found this helpful
M. G WatsonReviewed in the United States on July 26, 2021
3.0 out of 5 stars
This ain't bad at all.
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THE BAY is a modestly effective ecological found-footage horror film, shot in the style of a documentary. It's not terribly scary, it can be clumsy and obvious, and there are some plot holes that would have been much smaller had it not been set in the age of the internet; but I would give it fairly good marks for efficiency, effort, and ingenuity in utilizing its modest budget. If it fails to be very scary by my lights, it is more than occasionally disturbing, which ain't a bad consolation prize.

THE BAY is about an outbreak of parasitism which occurs on a festival weekend on a rather isolated island in Maryland in the Chesapeake Bay. While the townsfolk are gearing up to celebrate, disgusting parasites, blown up to large proportions by all the sewage, chemicals and what-not being pumped into the Bay, begin to manifest in the population. As chaos and panic spread, the government seals off the island and the corrupt local mayor does his best to obfuscate the truth of what is happening. Scientists and doctors do their best to identify and contain the outbreak, but as the bodies pile up and the system breaks down, the main goal of those who remain is simply survival. None of them are extraordinary folk: some acquatic scientists, an ER doctor, a few couples, a baby reporter who is really just an intern, some small-town cops. Thankfully there are no beefcake former SEALS with degrees in epidemiology or "scientists" who look like Playboy models. Just salt of the earth people whose world crashes down in a single day.

As I said above, this movie combines both ecological horror, which can be very preachy and obvious, with the rather tired vehicle of "found footage" or docu-horror...but it does so in a fairly effective way. The idea here is that this town's survival depends on chicken farming, a de-salinization planet, and fishing, all of which combine to create a perfect storm of chemical poisons which threatens, ironically, to annihilate the town via the aquatic super-parasites, which burrow through their hosts, consume their tongues and finally drop out of their mouths in a disgusting, vomitous form of birth. Most of the movie's horror is found in these scenes, but they are more deftly handled and less gratuitous than one might expect, especially one sequence handled entirely via police audio. The characters don't exactly leap off the screen with blistering performances, but the actors do their jobs efficiently, and the editing is not obnoxious. I don't buy the idea of the post-disaster cover-up, and the movie would have been much more effective had it been set in the 70s, but you can't have everything in a low-budget flick like this. To put it another way, for a B-movie, there is considerable craft here, a quality I admire.

All in all I think this is a decent horror movie which kind of takes an environmental riff on the played-out Zombie Apocalypse trope and does it more than reasonably well. As a guy who grew up in Maryland, I can also say that the pollution in the Bay, one of the most beautiful places on earth, continues to be a disgrace despite some earnest efforts to clean it up, and the idea that we will shortly pay a steep price for this sort of stupidity is much less of a movie conceit than any of us want to believe.
titania86Reviewed in the United States on July 13, 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars
Found footage eco-horror that's especially relevant
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* spoilers *

A news team led by an inexperienced reporter named Donna went to Claridge, Maryland to report on the 4th of July festivities. All seemed to be going well with a crab eating contest, dunk booths, parades, and the like. Then people start to get sick in droves until the majority of the city is infected with a mysterious disease. The Bay is a found footage film that compiles news coverage, personal videos, facetime conversations, surveillance footage, hospital documentation, conversations with the CDC, and oceanographer's video report to create its narrative. Donna in the present (three years after the events of the film) comments over the footage she took along with all the other compiled videos to get the full picture of what happened. It took three years to get this footage out there because it was confiscated by the governement until an anonymous hacker group released it online.

Underneath the prestige and success of the idyllic looking town Claridge is a seedy underbelly of sacrificing the environment for financial benefit. The most lucrative businesses in the town are the chicken industry, restaurants, and tourism. A large chicken farm dumps over 5 million pounds of chicken waste into the bay each year doing untold damage. The water is full of bacteria plus all the pills people take every day which then is desalinate (but not filtered) and given back to the townspeople. Although people have protested the pollution, the drive of the mayor, good old American capitalism, and tradition keep those opposing voices to a minimum.

The real trouble starts when thirty people exhibit extensive boils over large parts of their bodies. Dead people are found disemboweled with tongues missing that are assumed to be murder victims. Things are still generally normal while these people suffer. The mayor condemns any reports of toxic water as fearmongering and stresses personal responsibility for safety. The public call in to a radio show with huge amounts of outlandish theories from biological warfare to vaccines. The makeup effects make the rashes and boils look absolutely disgusting and lend a sinister tinge to all the lighthearted celebrations of the town and its use of water. It's crazy, but realistic to see how so much can go wrong without any real response or effort to protect people. As the film goes on, more and more people get sick with increasingly terrible symptoms.

The film follows a few people intermittently through the story which include the oceanographers studying the polluted water, a teenage girl facetiming at the local ER, the doctor in the ER, Donna the reporter, the mayor of the town, cops patrolling the neighborhood, and an oblivious couple with their baby coming to visit family. Donna is the main person connecting all this together, but I found her annoying especially when she cared more about her naivete showing in the video over the devastation. My favorite was the doctor in the ER who worked with the CDC to find out the cause of the outbreak. He works tirelessly interviewing, treating, and operating on people plus giving all the information to the CDC despite the people's growing panic and pain in the ER plus the risk of infection for himself. He prompts a girl facetiming with her friend to record what is happening in order to garner more evidence.

The culprit turns out to be a mutated type of parasitic isopod paired with a bacterial infection. The natural type of these parasites target fish, get in through the gills, remove the tongue, and then replace it with their bodies. Other than that, it doesn't do any other harm besides sometimes causing them to be underweight. These mutated ones attack humans, fill their stomachs with larva, burst out of their bodies, and remove and replace their tongues. This is the perfect movie to watch for the 4th of July considering the current political climate. Those in power are actively shutting down the EPA and other restrictions that protect wildlife and the environment in favor of businesses, drilling, and jobs in defunct energy sources. This film is frightening because it shows an extreme version of what could happen if we refuse to take a good look at what is being done to the environment. The only flaw of the film is the annoying reporter Donna and the terrible CGI effects, usually with fast-moving isopods. The Bay takes a water creature feature similar to Jaws and adds an additional aspect that makes all of the water, not just the ocean, dangerous.
8 people found this helpful
RTReviewed in the United States on June 17, 2021
4.0 out of 5 stars
Nuclear waste meets chicken poop and bugs
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I watched this for about and hour and it was grossing me out, I finished it the next day and glad I did. The characters as portrayed were very stereotyped especially the CDC, cops, and the government officials. You know, the typical 'pass the buck' mentality we've all grown to know and love with these a-holes, and this is probably how it would play out IRL: keeping people in the dark, coverups, misinformation, and just general profits over people mindset. I loved how the town mayor got his justice, bravo.
One person found this helpful
PolarbearReviewed in the United States on April 17, 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars
Awesome Movie! If you're from MD, you'll never look at crab cakes the same way again...
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I like horror movies. Usually, I can't suspend my disbelief and they come off more comic or corny than anything else. The Bay, on the other hand, is a really good story. I've lived in the region off and on over the last 20 years, so I know MD, Tidewater VA, and the Intercoastal Waterway a bit.

This film seemed very believable. Having grown up in the region, it just seemed to hit home for me. I don't know how a non-local would feel about it. (Movies taking place in, NY or LA, for instance, don't really matter to me.) I know from doing some business development research when I lived there that the Chesapeake Bay region draws millions of visitors each year and billions of dollars' worth of business. You can imagine how a deadly outbreak like this would quickly affect countless people for a long time to come. Even worse, as the film unfolds, you start to realize there would be practically no way to avoid being infected if you were in the area, yourself.

For me, it was easy to get into The Bay as the story of a cub reporter whose boring 4th of July picnic coverage turns into the most frightening story of the century as the residents of a small town, and nearly everyone in the Chesapeake Bay, is suddenly in danger of dying from parasites in the water. The fact that she's telling the story as a survivor and using found footage from a wikileaks-style video dump was really cool. The story has a certain War of the Worlds-style to it, in which the director gets to destroy the Tidewater Region over the course of the film. I was surprised to learn the director originally intended to do a straight documentary on pollution in The Bay, but was dissuaded by the material already created by the mainstream news media, and opted to scare the crap out of viewers with a "truthy" fiction story that might motivate them to support cleaning up the Chesapeake.

(For what it's worth, I met a guy who was involved in MD political circles and once attended a MD govt official's party where politicians explained to him the recycling program in MD was a joke strictly to appease voters and the bay would never be cleaned up because the MD govt is paid by a business interest who could not be named to ignore their polllution. He also said the fines for polluting the bay are too small to dissuade big business from dumping.)

The premise of the film was very believable. The way the outbreak developed seemed very realistic, too. As the nature of the infection became clear, it just got worse and worse. Also, one of the cool aspects of the movie was how the director didn't necessarily have to show you a hyper-violent blood bath to make the story scary. The scene with the cops responding to the house, and what happens there, was horrifying, yet the horror of it is only hinted at. Pretty cool! (I bet it saved a lot on the budget.) The actors all did a great job. The actor portraying the doctor, for instance, did a terrific job.

I like this film a lot and I would watch it again, especially if I have a friend from back there to show it to. I only wish I had been aware of this film when it came out; I would have wanted to show my support when it might have mattered. This one is definitely a keeper.
19 people found this helpful
cK1Reviewed in the United States on May 3, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
Thought provoking, a little scary if not true, real scary if true
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One of the best science fiction films I have seen in a long time. This is not an A+ film but it definitely not a B movie either. First time I watched it I thought it was a documentary and then realized it is just a good “this is what happens when we pollute our lakes and rivers”. And could this really happen? I am not into conspiracies so maybe not this but we all know how big business gets rid of toxic waste.
2 people found this helpful
Mickey N.Reviewed in the United States on August 5, 2018
2.0 out of 5 stars
No characters or story; just gore
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There are loads of gory horror movies I love. The Thing is one of my all-time favorite movies. But if you have gore in your movie, it has to be for a purpose. This movie is just a senseless gore fest. There is one actual character with a real personality and motives; everyone else is just there to die in gory ways. The explanation to what created the "disease", without spoiling anything, is really uncreative and standard. The only reasons I'm giving two stars instead of one are that the main (and only) character was well-acted (good on that actress) and I appreciate that many of the gore effects were done practically instead of with CGI. Ultimately, I was bored through most of this movie.

The most offensive thing of all is that this movie begins with a big Maryland fourth of July celebration and there isn't a single Maryland flag in sight and no one's picking crabs. Completely unrealistic.
2 people found this helpful
Shari Lyne DuShaneReviewed in the United States on February 15, 2014
4.0 out of 5 stars
Better than expected
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Acting was pretty good, the main characters were able to portray non-professionalism into their roles, giving it a home-recording feel at some points, and newbie-reporter fumbling through at others. The pseudo-documentary style was similar in some respects to "The Blair Witch Project" (Myrick, D. & Sanchez, E., 1999), without being over-done. The storyline was completely believable, including the mistakes by all of the various government agencies that were involved. Perhaps the mishandling of the event by the various agencies made it even more believable....

This film had been sitting in my watchlist for some time, with me putting off watching it. Now I'm sorry I denied myself for so long! It not only kept my attention, but all of the creepy moans got my Collies wound up and turning their heads from one side to the other, trying to figure out where the sounds were coming from - which gave me a good laugh. That's always a bonus.... I definitely enjoyed the movie and now plan to buy the DVD to add to my growing horror collection.
One person found this helpful
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