Barry Levinson directing a horror movie – and for the first time – is enough to raise my eyebrows (I can’t raise just one; I’m not Emilia Clarke). More so on knowing that this this is a found-footage cautionary tale about not fucking up our planet’s environment (Levinson devised the idea as an offshoot of an eco-documentary about the Chesapeake Bay area, where the film is set). According to Levinson, the movie is “80% accurate” with regard to pollution issues in the area. Our monsters? Fish parasites from toxic water, mutating their human hosts, and which are aggressively pathogenic. In short, if Al Gore wrote a zombie movie. So far, so intriguing.
But it just about missed the mark for me. The film’s opening and much of the screentime is from the video confessionals of a plucky young newscaster with a slow, nasal voice so grating she’d be better-suited to a sleepy, small town’s travel agent complaints department. That soured any enjoyment I might have had (sorry, I hate my own voice, too). There were some genuine scares and impressive gore, but the narrative’s piecemeal structure meant I didn’t really care about any of the characters over plot progression.
I’m also not sure what’s up with streaming site Shudder’s sound playback, as this was the first of two movies where the screams were deafening compared to the rest of the audio. Not great for late-night viewings in a shared household.