"The Bay" is a sharply made "found-footage" horror movie that proves that even an old dog like director Barry Levinson ("Rain Man," "Diner") can learn some new tricks.
The mock-documentary purports to be the compilation of Donna Thompson (Kether Donohue), an activist employing leaked footage to bust a government cover-up of a deadly biological outbreak that struck a Maryland town three years earlier. Donna was an intern TV reporter that day, covering a Fourth of July celebration as it turned to horror because of a flesh-eating parasite mutating from a poultry processor's pollution in Chesapeake Bay.
Levinson employs all the gadgets of modern communication smart-phone video, security footage, Skype conversations between an overworked doctor (Stephen Kunken) and worried CDC officials, police dashboard cameras and Donna's live reports to bring jagged tension to rookie Michael Wallach's script.
There are a few jump-out-of-your-seat shocks and a well-camouflaged environmental message, but Levinson's most effective work here is creating an atmosphere of doom as the epidemic spreads.
Opens Friday, Nov. 2, at the Broadway Centre Cinemas; rated R for disturbing violent content, bloody images and language; 85 minutes.