31 Days of Horror: The Bay (2012) – REVIEW

If you fancy an underrated gem anytime soon, you definitely need to give The Bay a spin. I watched this 2012 found-footage (yes, that again) horror a while back and loved it. So much so, in fact, that I had to include it in 31 Days of Horror. It came out of nowhere when I first saw it, and was just as good on the rewatch too.

The Bay

It all centres around newly discovered footage from an ecological disaster in the Chesapeake Bay area of Maryland. At the heart of everything is a junior local news reporter who covered events as they happened, and unknown to the authorities, managed to cobble together this film that documents exactly what went down.

The Bay flew under the radar

I think maybe because it has such a simple concept in place, The Bay doesn’t get the attention it deserves. But do not be fooled – there’s real fear in simplicity. Nothing here is overcomplicated, meaning it’s not hard to really consider what exactly is going on in the film. The idea of something harmful getting into our water systems is an unnerving one at the best of times, but the gruesome twist that is put on that here is especially horrible.

The Bay

And speaking of gruesome, let’s take a minute to bask in the glory of some of the grim visuals that The Bay has in abundance. There were moments that made my skin crawl, and others that made me wince. A massive amount of credit goes to the practical effects team here – they did a wonderfully disgusting job with the infected residents. Everything from simple blisters and boils to people who looked like they’d come straight from filming chest-burster scenes for the Alien franchise was fantastic. It all helped the film to get a tiny bit further under the skin, not that that was something it struggled with.

It leans into the chaos

Obviously the whole idea behind The Bay is that it’s an account of what really went on during an event that authorities tried to cover up. What this means is that the film presents all of the information about the disaster to us so we can see it, but keeps different elements from all of the various characters it features, preventing them from ever seeing the full picture. It makes watching the film similar to watching something like a car crash unfold – you know exactly what’s about to happen, but realise nothing can be done about it. All you can do is brace for impact, and as mentioned earlier, that latter part is particularly rough.

The Bay

However, The Bay does hold back at times, and there is a scene about halfway through that is a fine example of such restraint. There are scenes where the film lets the dialogue do most of the heavy lifting, keeping the action off-screen for just a few moments. Inevitably, it means your imagination is allowed to take over, and given everything that you do get to see here, it’s amazing what the mind manages to come up with.

Give it a whirl if you haven’t already

I cannot recommend The Bay enough! It’s a fantastic little film that was such a wonderful surprise to me the first time I watched it, and was just as good as I remembered on second viewing. It plays on fears you probably didn’t realise you had, and is just a bit of general nastiness that can be fun to watch from time to time. For fans of films such as REC it is a must, but in all fairness, I can’t think of a good reason why anybody shouldn’t watch this.

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