Whoa. We were expecting the Barry Levinson-directed found footage eco-horror flick "The Bay," produced by the "Paranormal Activity" team of Jason Blum, Oren Peli and Steven Schneider, to be something of a mild curiosity. After all, the 70-year-old director of "Diner" (which Vanity Fair recently profiled on its thirty year anniversary), hasn't had a truly buzz-worthy movie in a while, and the other movie made with the 'Paranormal' team around the same time (Rob Zombie's "Lords of Salem") hasn't even been picked up for distribution yet. Well, after watching the trailer (courtesy of Apple) we're more than intrigued, we're ready to pre-order our tickets now.
While the trailer is a little overlong and gives away a few too many twists, the movie looks surprisingly solid. Yes, it is within the "found footage" horror genre, but instead of taking a single point of view, it kind of absorbs any amateur footage – everything from teens on a boat to a news crew covering a mysterious outbreak of a water-born pathogen. While fairly referential (you can catch glimpses of everything from George Romero's "The Crazies" to killer brain slugs from outer space classic "Night of the Creeps"), the tone of "The Bay" seems deadly serious. And very, very scary.
Levinson, who came up with the story, and produced and directed "The Bay," seems to have taken that crazy tongue-eating parasite from a couple of years ago (if you need to be reminded, here you go), and expanded it to ridiculously disgusting heights. Body horror, potential viral outbreaks, weird worms, government conspiracies, zombie-like creatures, the cute girl from "Cabin in the Woods" – this thing has it all.
We should get word on the level of disgust fairly soon, since the film will play both the Toronto International Film Festival and the New York Film Festival (as part of its newly minted Midnight Movies series). It will be on iTunes and in theaters on November 2nd. We can't wait.