There’s a lot of debate in the horror world about found footage, which has practically become a genre in itself. The pros?
It can add a lot of realism to the scares, while people who don’t like it feel the sub-genre is a lazy way to make a horror film where you just shoot a bunch of footage and slap it all together later.
Still, in all fairness, found footage has crossed over to all different genres of film, it’s no longer exclusively for horror, and we’ve seen with the recent superhero film Chronicle, it an be done very well in the right hands. Now when you normally think of horror, especially found footage horror, the name Barry Levinson doesn’t come to mind, but he’s actually made a found footage fright flick called The Bay.
Levinson is of course the director of Rainman, Good Morning Vietnam, and Diner. Essentially, The Bay is a found footage horror he’s made for the producers of Paranormal Activity and Insidious. Levinson has in fact tackled genre before, he did the Michael Crichton adaptation Sphere, which didn’t turn out that great, but can he successfully tackle something even more out of his wheelhouse like The Bay?
The Bay centers around a town in Chesapeake Bay, where the water surrounding the town is important for everyone’s survival. (And if you know Levinson’s work, he frequently bases his movies out of his native Baltimore). But as we’ve seen in a number of horror films that deal with pollution, like Creature From the Black Lagoon, two biological researchers find a huge level of toxicity in the water. Much like in Jaws and The Enemy of the People, when the mayor is alerted, he looks the other way, and a horrible plague takes over. We eventually see how much devastation is brought to the town through home movies that the townspeople made.
It’s also interesting to point out that The Bay hits theaters and will be available on iTunes the same day, November 2. So we know Barry can deliver Academy Award winning drama and great performances, but will his jump to horror deliver? I’m all for directors moving out of their comfort zones and trying something different, because it can give a genre film a much needed fresh perspective.
Think of The Exorcist, which was directed by William Friedkin, who hates horror films, or Silence of the Lambs, where Jonathan Demme was as bizarre of a choice as you could think of, and both are now all time classics of the genre. In this regard, I’m certainly willing to give Levinson a chance and hope he can deliver similar good scares.