Movie review: Scares rise from the water in 'The Bay'

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"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.; —


'The Bay'

Opens Friday, Nov. 2, at the Broadway Centre Cinemas; rated R for disturbing violent content, bloody images and language; 85 minutes.