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A small town beside Chesapeake Bay in Maryland becomes the scene for a spate of deaths caused by what seems at first to be an infectious disease. The film features many different “found footage” videos taken by residents, visitors and mainly the film taken by a young intern from a news channel, to try and “spread” the footage and show the world what happened there and how the CDC attempted to cover up many deaths that day.
Donna Thomson – Kether Donohue (Pitch Perfect; Boy Wonder; various Japanese voice-overs most notably Pokemon)
Stephanie – Kristen Connolly (A Cabin in the Woods; The Happening; TV's As the World Turns)
Dr. Jack Abrams – Stephen Kunken (Bamboozled; Taking Woodstock; Extreme Loud & Incredible Close)
Mayor John Stockman – Frank Deal (The Bourne Legacy; Deception; TV's Law & Order: SVU)
Directed by Barry Levinson (Rain Man; Bugsy; Sphere)
Written by Michael Wallach (debut)
==What Did I Think of the Film?==
Firstly I apologise as this review will be quite short as I can assure you I could rant for hours about what is wrong with the film. I said in my preview I didn't hold high hopes for it, but was willing to give it a chance due to Barry Levinson directing it; the inclusion of Sphere in his credits above is to show you that as great a director as he was in the 80s, he has gone so far downhill that his films are unrecognisable! What possessed him to have anything to do with this I have no idea!
I'll concede that the premise is actually quite sound for a simple horror film, unknown infections lead to the death strange behaviour and eventual death of the townsfolk. Fairly normal story-line, totally workable if you get a few basics right... alas that did not happen... firstly, the debuting screenwriter Michael Wallach decided to take things far too far. If you are basing a horror film on something that actually exists then at least try to avoid going to the extreme! Some directors/writers make careers out of making ludicrous story-lines into hilarious and extremely watchable comedy horrors (e.g. Jim Wynorski (Piranhaconda) or Mark Jones (Leprechaun)), but learn your trade first before attempting it with an Oscar winning director and bring it down a further notch by making it with shaky camcorder footage! I will never accept found footage as an entertaining style of film production. It's tedious and although I'm sure it has it's place, it sure as Hell isn't on a cinema screen!
Now to the strange casting; Kristen Connolly, the only name of note having appeared in a few big hits in the last couple of years is wildly underused in a home video with her partner which seems at first to be almost tangential to the main story... eventually she gets a bit more screen time but by then it is far too late! Instead we get hear the story reported by the English language voice of numerous Anime shows (Kether Donohue)! There's a reason she does voice-overs, she can't act; seriously she makes Cameron Diaz's performance in The Box seem like a theatrical masterclass! The cameraman clearly realises this and seems to get in as many close-ups of her rather nice behind as he possibly can into the barely 80 minutes running time. Oh, and when I say barely 80 minutes, that was said ironically as it took me almost two hours to get through this as I needed eight cups of coffee to make it to the end.
That's enough for now, please don't feel that should just take my word for it. Go see it, then come back and write a wee comment telling me your thoughts in the comments section! Don't say I didn't warn you though!
Go and see this film if you want to get out of the rain, I guess, but seriously stand in the rain folks... you might see somebody fall in a puddle or something. At least that will amuse you for half a second longer than the film will succeed in doing!
Don’t bother if you wish to maintain your sanity. There is a lot of shaky camera moments, some totally irrelevant side stories and some terrible acting. There's a reason this has made next to no money anywhere that it has been released. Personally I believe that Barry Levinson should be made to return his Oscar statuette to the Academy and give it to Nick Nolte was unfairly overlooked for Best Supporting Actor last year!
3/10 – This rating may only be for the idea given my degree subject and that the topic of my dissertation involved removing pollutants from the water course via Sewage Treatment Plants! If you have no interest in Environmental Health I expect that you would lose the will to live the second they mention what is actually causing the problem. It's based on something which does actually exist, but taken to the extreme; perhaps if they had used Biochar in their water treatment plant it wouldn't have happened!
That would normally earn 2 Dooyoo hearts, but this really is utter mindrot... 1 heart!
*This review first appeared under my real name on TVandFilmReview.com in February 2013