The quaint coastal town of Claridge, Maryland thrives on the safe, tranquil and abundant waters of Chesapeake Bay. During their annual Independence Day celebrations, a gruesome plague is unleashed, quickly infecting the residents and turning them against each other. During the celebrations, swimmers come out in rashes. These turn into blisters that give way to agony and disgusting death. The condition spreads, hospitals are overwhelmed, and the disease-control centre is baffled. It turns out that steroid-rich excrement dumped by a chicken farm has caused a fish parasite to mutate catastrophically, destroying everyone it comes in contact with eating them from the inside out. Three years later all of the news, sound, radio and phone footage has been collated to bring the story out to the masses and reveal the truth for what happened three years ago.
Momentum Pictures brings The Bay to Blu-Ray in a lovely 1080p presentation that looks fantastic on screen. Considering the movie is a ‘found footage’ film, the picture is glorious. Set mainly in day time the ‘Handycam‘ look shows off lots of vibrant colours that pop off the screen. Based at the coast there’s a lot of water, which contrasting next to the blue sky with the blues of the water look brilliant when you watch it. All of the colours from the festivities from the celebrations, including all of the street decorations and how people are dressed really jump out of the screen and look fantastic. I could hardly see any grain on the print and was overall very clean and crisp. There’s also a good mix of day and night, and when we do get to the night time in the movie, the black colours are again very good which add great depth to the picture. The detail again is great; you see all all the small details thanks to the great Hi-Def picture, showing every bead of sweat on the panic stricken actors faces. The movie often flicks to black and white to show things that happened in the past, and the detail again was very good. The only downside that I found was that some of the stock news footage used at the beginning of the movie was very badly pixelated.
Only the one audio track here which was a DTS-HD MA 5.1 English track. A very good surround mix for the audio track with all channels used to full effect. With the movie being a ‘found footage’ film, there is a lot of crowd noise which when thrown into the surround mix really immerses you into the film. You feel like you’re there, running with the panicked crowd away from the water! It’s the same with the water, the swilling and and sloshing sounds of the water when put into the mix really makes you feel like you’re under the infected water with the divers looking for what’s causing this huge outbreak. The bass used in the mix is used to good effect and not overpowering at all. The only thing I did find was that during dialogue scenes, the bass picked up some of the vocals which was a little distracting at first. The score for the movie is very minimal which works out for the better in the film. It’s very haunting and helps build the tension and atmosphere and really draws you into the film.
Only the two features on the disc that I received.
* Into The Bay – An 8 minute featurette going behind the scenes of the movie with some brief interviews with cast and crew
* Theatrical Trailer
I would’ve liked to have seen some more extras, especially a directors commentary and maybe an interview with the FX team behind some of the great gore that we see on screen during the film.
Veteran Hollywood director Barry Levinson brings a rare and refreshing movie to the horror genre utilising a variety of footage formats to present a realistic and believable shocker. I’ve never been the biggest fan of the ‘Found Footage’ film, but this might be the best I have seen and for me has reinvented this type of film just like Blair Witch did back in 1999. The film comes across as very realistic and one which you’re drawn in straight in from the offset. Nothing seems staged, all of the actors do a fine job at being ‘normal’ which only adds to the realism of the film. You feel their panic when everything goes wrong. The movie is very well paced, not letting up from the get-go getting straight to the point and doesn’t let up until the very end but still leaves that air of mystery as to what actually happened that day surrounding what could’ve been a huge cover up.
I also have to praise the FX team behind the movie. The gore and blood were good old fashioned practical FX, which is something I miss from movies of today which all seem to go the way of CGI blood. Speaking of CGI, there was very little used from what I could see. For what was used, was kept to a minimum and was done very well that was integrated into the film well, being hardly noticeable.
Overall a very good disc showcasing great picture and sound, with the only downer being a poor selection of extras. However, the film for me more than made up for this.
I felt uneasy watching the movie, which needless to say it served it’s purpose and did it very well! A very different eco-horror movie that I urge all horror fans to make sure they go out of their way to see. I cannot wait to revisit it again, and one which I’ll be showing to all of my movie-going friends.
Purchase your copy from Amazon.co.uk