Monday, October 01, 2012

The Bay in 270 Words or Less

I saw Barry Levinson's "eco-horror" flick The Bay last night. When I got up this morning, fresh from a restful sleep, I took one look at my shower and shuddered. Thankfully for all those around me I do weigh my daily cleanliness highly than movie-induced neuroses though, so I took the shower. But the entire time, the wriggling the horrible wriggling was there, at the back of my brain. 

Such is the mark of an effective little chiller. Levinson burrows right under your skin (har har) with a mounting squickiness - scene after scene of scatter-shot unsightliness boxing you in until this vast expanse of nature feels very tight, very low, and very very unfriendly. And moist. Focusing heavily on ten-dollar science and medical terminology is a stroke of genius - for the lay-man viewer like myself this is intimidating, creepy and completely disorienting all at once. You're forced into working alongside the unraveling of a mystery, and while Levinson's got your attention focused over there wham disgusting thing hitting you in the face.

When you see a film that digs right into the meat and bone of such universal human fears as effortlessly as this one seems to (and that's a high compliment because Levinson is working very very hard to make this seem so effortless) you leave it wondering why these are notes that get played so infrequently. Cronenberg understood it; those scenes in The Exorcist where Regan's being mauled by medical mechinary understood it - there's nothing more terrifying than your own body. (Also, bugs.)


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