Box art for The Bay

The Bay

horror, thrillers

Two million fish washed ashore. One thousand blackbirds dropped from the sky. On July 4, 2009 a deadly menace swept through the quaint seaside town of Claridge, Maryland.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

PAUSE for kids age 16
Positive role models
1 out of 5
4 out of 5
1 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
0 out of 5
4 out of 5
Positive messages
1 out of 5
1 out of 5

Fake docu about disturbingly believable gory disaster.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Bay -- a horror movie about a terrifying, murderous environmental disaster -- is made up of "found" footage from various video cameras (it's presented as a documentary but is fiction). There's lots of death and blood, as well as a general disgusting, disturbing tone as survivors try to figure out what the culprit is and how it works. Language is strong, with several uses of "f--k" and "s--t," both spoken and written (in text messages and emails). In one scene, a teen boy and girl flirt briefly before going swimming; the teen girl is shown in her bra. The Bay comes from the creator/producer of the Paranormal Activity movies, though it's unlikely to have the same kind of draw.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about The Bay's violence. What's the impact of seeing dead bodies in large numbers vs. people getting killed off one by one in (as in a slasher movie)? How does a movie's plausibility affect the impact of its violence?
  • Does this movie's premise seem believable? Does the fake documentary format help? Why do you think filmmakers are drawn to that format?
  • What does The Bay have to say about the environment? Should we, as citizens, be more aware of what's going on around us? How?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 20
    see all The Bay reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews

Rotten: There is a lot of nasty stuff to look at, but very little that is genuinely haunting, jolting or terrifying.

- A.O. Scott, New York Times, Thursday, November 1, 2012

Fresh: It's schlock with honor, schlock with a conscience, schlock that speaks to the way we live now.

- Andrew O'Hehir,, Thursday, November 1, 2012

Fresh: Levinson knows his way around a story, and "The Bay" benefits greatly from that, coming together as something more than a high-tech parlor trick.

- Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic, Thursday, November 1, 2012

Audience Reviews

1 star

When so-called "respectable" film-makers make an attempt at the horror genre, it rarely yields positive results. Levinson is the latest to show a complete lack of what makes horror work with this found-footage flick with an environmental message. The residents of a small coastal town are struck down by minute sea creatures who have infected the water supply. We've seen a lot of boring found-footage movies but this really takes the biscuit, mainly consisting of characters speaking to camera about the horror of what's occurring. Back to dramas Mister Levinson, this clearly isn't your domain.

- moviewaffle, Monday, November 26, 2012

3 stars

Levison uses some pretty cheap tricks throughout that bothered me, however he still manages to find a sense of urgency and relevancy in the "found footage" genre. Its not about vague supernatural elements, but rather a well defined (and unsettling) outbreak that's the result of environmental contamination.

- fb20312798, Saturday, November 24, 2012

2 stars

I admire a director who's not afraid on tackling completly different genres and I commend Barry Levinson on approaching the found footage genre but he doesn't seem to have made his homework well. The goods: the way the found footage is made is fantastic. It uses everything from skype videos, cellphone videos, news reports, police car cameras amongst other gimmicks. I never felt took away from the movie and the perspectives and editing is pretty good. The worse is that most of the characters and story are forgetable and you can't feel much of a connection to them. But the real killer is the use of sound. Most found footage flicks work wonders on scaring you because you don't have audio cues or soundtrack to warn you of what will happen and these scares come as unpredictable on most cases. The Bay is riddled with bad choices: from super loud scares, to annoying music everywhere, little drones that tip you off, etc. It completly kills the atmosphere that the multiple found footage videos created at first. It's worth a shot for fans of the director and genre but a missed opportunity overal.

- piranhaa72, Sunday, December 16, 2012