But not all that glitters is gold, as most of the movies produced proved to be just a spent repetition of milk-and-water ideas and stylistic features, sons of an idea of cinema that is at least poor and abused. With some (great) exceptions: first, the masterpiece by Romero, Diary of the Dead, a real set-up of a cognitive fail opposite to the fragmentation of images, a theoretical essay about the impossibility to give a complete representation of the Reality surrounding us; but, in the second instance, the nevertheless great [REC] by Jaume Balaguerò and Chronicle by Josh Tank. The Bay is located into the same coordinates, but instead of dealing with the genre using the theoretical reflection, it prefers focusing on the content: the virus is no more the image (as it is in Diary of the Dead), but it is inside us, deep-rooted into our community (society); eyes – cameras, mobiles, Skype, etc. – cannot help but record the consequences. So Barry Levinson uses modern technologies to look back to the old cinema: from Steven Spielberg’s Jaws to the great political horror movies of the Seventies and the Eighties, those who became a crooked and deforming point of view on the everyday society. The troublesome, not reconciled horror movies, far from the trend of dominant thought: the horror movies whose aim was first to describe the humanity and the frailty of the infrastructures created by themselves.
And The Bay actually looks back to the past: it is a movie where everything has already happened, some years ago, in a waterside of Maryland. A small harbour where families go on vacation to celebrate the 4th of July, a sort of island of happiness where the average American man puts his trust and hope in, the trust and hope that are parts of the most famous dream of the Big Country. But it is a dream that little by little becomes a nightmare: the level of toxicity of the waters, provoked by the irresponsible business policies of the place, produces a parasite that begins to take control of the people, changing the national holiday in uncontrolled killings. Nowadays, some years after, an aspiring journalist survived to the events tries to put together the depositions of that day, with all the audiovisual material collected.
So The Bay becomes the tale of a nation’s collapse, destroyed from within exactly in the moment of its greatest magnificence, the moment when it is ready to celebrate itself (Independence Day): for the first time in his career, Levinson uses the stylistic features of horror genre to paint a dark and pessimistic tableau of America, ruled by a creeping chaos which floods freely without anyone fixing it. And it is a chaos which comes from within: no terrorist threat, no external intervention; the cancer is already, irreparably, inside us. Through the cinema, we cannot help but put up the unstoppable proliferation of the metastasis.
Using the typical features of the found footage, The Bay desperately tries to show what does not exist, what has not been showed yet: a past (though very close), told with the tools of the digital future; in this contradiction lies the core of the movie, permeated by an apocalyptic vision of a world, ours, which will not die because of the aliens or other stuff. Simply, it will end when nobody able to see remains.
Written by Giacomo Calzoni
Translation from italian by Fabio Tasso
Reference section: English/Français