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Belittling Horror Excessively: The Bay01:10 AM -- Wed October 2, 2013

SPOILER WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

Welcome back for another round of Belittling Horror Excessively! Thirty-one screamtastic tales of terror picked apart to death over the month of October. I wanted to do the Hamumu Halloween Home Horror Hoedown again, I do sort of enjoy it... but it's just so much work to film and edit the reviews each day, so I'm going back to the basic written reviews. Besides, I really miss saying that things ensue. The thing I'm doing differently this year is that I will spoil the movies for you! So don't read on if you plan to watch the movies I'm discussing. I'm tired of not being able to talk about the most important parts of the movie and just sounding dumb trying to be as vague as possible, so let's have a nice proper discussion of the movie as a whole!

Synopsis: The mayor of a small town on the Chesapeake Bay decides that all of the following are good ideas: dumping tons and tons of chicken manure into the bay, being near a nuclear power plant, holding a big summer celebration, setting up a desalinization plant to convert the bay into drinking water, and of course drinking that water. Excessive filming ensues.

Scariness Type: Hey, we're starting right off with a found-footage movie! This isn't just one lost tape from a kid in the woods though, it's actually a documentary put together from all the assorted possible sources in the town during this unfortunate incident, from traffic cameras to tourists' videos to security cameras to iPhone Facetime to videoconferencing to news reports and more. What all this conspires to do is create the "deadly outbreak" kind of scariness. Nothing much is going to jump out at you, you're just supposed to worry about the horribleness of the situation. Could it really happen (hint: no)? Are you sure you should be drinking that?

Rating: 2.5/5 Isopods.

Body Count: 700+. I think this movie might win the body count contest this month, kind of a letdown since it's the first one!

Fun Fact: Steroids can make you grow dozens of times faster than normal. That's why you see pro football players that are 25 feet tall. And chew on people.

Best Moment: I'm not sure... Honestly, nothing stands out and makes me cheer (hence the middling rating), the movie just kind of putters along.

Worst Moment: When the movie defies its own fiction. In a scene clearly built entirely for the trailer (well, that's my guess anyway, not having seen the trailer), one infected cop acts like a zombie and shoots his boss before shooting himself. It's so unrealistic and completely out of character for what is really happening that it just makes no sense. Nobody else in the entire movie has any kind of weird mental issue like that, and while I'm at it, what's up with shooting somebody else to save them from the infection you carry? Shoot yourself, be nice! Of course he does, but he shoots the other guy first. And again, why is that? For shock value. Not even close to something that would actually happen.

A Suspension Bridge Too Far: This is the moment when the movie went too far for me to suspend my disbelief... When a pair of cops went to investigate somebody's house, one of them walked inside, then after a while a gunshot went off. The remaining cop went running in to see what was going on. A problem for a found-footage movie - there's no camera in that house. The only footage here is being shot from the dashboard camera of the cop car. So how does the movie choose to let us in on what happened in the house? By saying "We enhanced the audio so you can hear what was happening". So this little dashboard camera 20 feet in front of the house was recording people speaking at a low volume in a back room of this house, which they enhanced to perfect clarity. It's the "Zoom And Enhance" CSI moment of the movie.

Horror Tropes: Well, being a found-footage movie, this movie is full of people insisting on recording when they would never do so in real life. "Why are you filming? Stop that!", "Oh come on baby, we're gonna be glad we filmed every second of us walking down this empty street! I refuse to stop despite your reasonable request." But also, let's not forget the ultimate classic: the blood-dripping-on-you-from-above trope! We have a nice example in this movie. Ooh, what's this dripping on me? Is that blood?! I better slowly look upward without even moving out of the path of it.... AIYEEEE!!!!

My Take: Well, what you have here is a mockumentary about a massive disease outbreak, basically. It's not actually a disease (I told you there'd be spoilers! I told you in red!), it's isopods (basically tiny horseshoe crabs) in the water which for Movie Logic Reasons grow to several inches in size in just hours after you swallow them, eating their way through your body. But it might as well be a disease, same difference really. Definitely an eco-terror thing here, the usual "stop polluting or Godzilla will destroy you" message. What it really reminds me of is movies from the 50's, how they would end with a voiceover saying, "With all our fabulous technology, has mankind doomed himself to extinction? When you leave the theater, will YOU make giant mutant ants? The END!?!?!" or something. This doesn't end with that kind of thing, but it feels like it should. What I respect in this movie is how it feels quite different from your usual horror movie, because it really does feel like it's actually documenting a real-life outbreak, something that could really happen (even though it couldn't). And it even sensationalizes it like a documentary would. What I don't respect is that there are no real characters in the movie, no motivations or growth. Just people who muddle along and end up with ocean bugs popping out of their mouths. There's no "story" here at all, except in the sense of a news story.

Missed Opportunity: If you watch this movie, look behind the main character when she's doing her interview thing... there's something on the ceiling. It's probably a smoke detector or something, but it really looks a lot like an isopod, and once I noticed it, I spent the rest of the movie waiting for it to move and give us a nonsensical shock twist ending. Which by the way would've made some sense - this girl washed herself off in a fountain in the town at one point in the movie. Why is she alive?

The Lesson: And lastly, in case you don't watch the movie, I'm here to sum it up into one simple lesson you can carry with you for the rest of your life. If you get nothing else from this review, let it be the powerful and important lesson. The Bay has this lesson for you: Don't drink the water.

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