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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

 

directed by Barry Levinson
USA 2012

 

In 2009, college intern Donna Thompson (Kether Donohue, PITCH PERFECT) was covering the Claridge, Maryland July 4th celebration that became the site of a devastating outbreak of what at first seemed to be a flesh-eating virus. As his waiting room fills up with locals infected with boils, lesions, and blisters, a local emergency room doctor (Stephen Kunken, THE GIRL IN THE PARK) contacts the CDC. Meanwhile, the cops are responding to apparent mutilation murders, skinny-dippers and fishing boats get gruesome surprises, rumors about terrorists attacks and satanic cults poisoning the water supply are rampant, and the dissembling mayor (Frank Deal, THE BOURNE LEGACY) is blaming the higher bacterial levels that come with unseasonably warm water temperatures. The CDC, the EPA, the coast guard, and Homeland Security - in conjunction with the local hospitals - scramble to discover the cause of the outbreak; but we learn from the video diary of a pair of marine biologists whose bodies were pulled from the water two weeks before the festivities that prehistoric parasitic isopods have been found in the local fish population, however the possible causes of the virulence, speed, and nature of the outbreak are only partly explained as the result of a complex web of greed and negligence.

THE BAY is a "found footage" film in that it purports to be compiled and edited together from multiple video sources seized by the government and then leaked out in 2012 with Donna's recollections justifying the editorial interjections (as opposed to a more linear playback of the footage). There are some jumps and plenty of gruesome gore effects; but the film is more of an ecological disaster expose than a horror film, and director Barry Levinson (SLEEPERS) manages to wring some emotion out of the deaths of a few cardboard characters and many, many more extras. The combination of JAWS-esque publicity-minded local government, X-FILES-esque FBI cover-ups, ineffectual and incompetent Homeland Security and FEMA bureaucracy, and "too many cooks" in the CDC think-tank would be hokey - and indeed a late exchange between an exasperated CDC scientist (Robert C. Treveiler, THE MIST) and a Homeland Security "schlub" (Anthony Reynolds) does indeed raise a few chuckles thanks to Treveiler's timing - if not for the many real-life examples (as depicted in the news and in not-so-far-off parody). A straightforward horror film might have seemed odd in Levinson's oeuvre - discounting YOUNG SHERLOCK HOLMES as more of a Spielberg work and SPHERE as a dismal cash-in adaptation of a dismal novel - but THE BAY fits more alongside his WAG THE DOG and possibly MAN OF THE YEAR.

Eric Cotenas

Poster

Theatrical Release: 2 November 2012 (USA)

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DVD Review: Momentum Pictures/eOne Entertainment - Region 2 - PAL

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

DVD Box Cover

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Distribution

Momentum Pictures/eOne Entertainment

Region 2 - PAL

Runtime 1:21:09 (4% PAL speedup)
Video

1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.72 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio English Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Momentum Pictures/eOne Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1

Edition Details:
• Inside the Bay (16:9; 8:15)
• Trailer (16:9; 2:23)
• Start-up trailer THE FACILITY, SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS, and SINISTER

DVD Release Date: March 18th, 2013
Amaray

Chapters 12

 

Comments

Momentum Pictures' single-layer anamorphic DVD does it best with the complex texture of this "found footage" film. The color palette of several scenes is deliberately bleachy with little detail, suggesting multi-generational duplication of some video sources, the poor compression of mobile and streaming sources, and the auto-exposure and gain of surveillance cameras. The aspect ratio of the different video format varies but they are all windowboxed with the widest being 1.85:1 (as opposed to the 1.78:1 one would expect from digital video). The 5.1 track emphasizes the spare score over surround jump scares (realistically most of these camera sources would capture stereo audio). The only extras are a making-of featurettte and a theatrical trailer.

A Region 'B' Blu-ray (HERE) is also available (in the US, LionsGate has released it only on DVD [HERE] and VOD, however the R1 does feature a director's commentary).

  - Eric Cotenas

 


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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution

Momentum Pictures/eOne Entertainment

Region 2 - PAL

 




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