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"There's forty-five million pounds of chicken shit dumped into the bay each year…"
This Horror film shot in the "Found Footage" style of that particular subgenre, and directed by Barry Levinson (YOUNG SHERLOCK HOLMES, DISCLOSURE, SLEEPERS, SPHERE) and starring Kether Donahue (ALTERED STATES OF PLAIN) as Donna, who is a reporter for a college TV station covering an annual 4th of July event for the town of Claridge, Maryland, on the Chesapeake Bay.
Then, as it always does during such events, disaster strikes. A woman wanders into the crowd, screaming for help. She looks much like the characters from Eli Roth's CABIN FEVER did when the flesh-eating virus took hold among their group. It doesn't take long until other similar incidents are breaking out at the celebration and all around the town. At first, nobody knows what the hell is going on as the population of Claridge, are breaking out in rashes, boils, bleeding copiously all over the place. Soon, the entire town looks like a very bloody crime scene.
The local hospital is full of patients with all the above listed symptoms and more are piling in. The one physician, Dr. Abrams (Stephen Kunken: LIGHT AND THE SUFFERER, ALL GOOD THINGS, JASON BOURNE, THE HANDMAID'S TALE [TV]) after an endless deluge of these cases, is deserted by his staff in short order.
They all want to book it out of the town. Too bad for them and other residents with the same idea, they are stopped on a bridge and effectively quarantined from getting out. Abrams is constantly on the horn with the CDC, that is when he is not doing saw bones surgery. The hospital is not a pretty sight and it keeps getting worse.
The music playing in the background during many of the grimmer scenes is very reminiscent of George A. Romero's DAWN OF THE DEAD.
All through the movie, there are constant reminders of where the lifeline, and ironically, the death knell of the town originates from. I would say a good 80 percent, probably more, has to do with water. If you don't see it in some way either full shots of it, then the bay is subtly inserted in the background of various scenes. If the H20 isn't seen, it is being talked about in some form or fashion. If JAWS didn't keep you out of the water, give this film a gander before you go to the ol' swimmin' hole, or crick. You might want to rethink those summer plans and stay at home instead.
But now it's time for a...
Without giving away the stages of horror here, let me comment on the one visible instigator: True enough, one of the adorable little monsters of this flick is real.
As of this writing, however, there is no evidence, let alone "fact" that the varmint has developed a taste for humans or ever could. It works too slow to gain a foothold in its host's mouth and, unlike its favorite seafood diet, we generally have hands and fingers to pull the little bastards out!
Then cook them and eat them!
The idea here is that "Toxins" made these complex multicellular life forms "Super". Unfortunately, human history shows that atomic blasts and pollution never improve a life form, only cripple and destroy it.
But what is poison to one of a species is nothing to another. For example, not everyone is allergic to peanuts.
Farther down the scale at the microscopic level, radiation and poisons may allow for random single cell survivors that are lucky enough to have an immunity to it. These fortunate microbes, once in the minority of their population, may wind up being the only ones left and so become the dominant breed. They aren't Super in comparison to their dead family members, random mutation of their DNA simply made them immune to, say, a specific proprietary antibiotic, and now they're the only ones left that are still reproducing.
Like JAWS, this flick has a real sleazeball mayor, Stockman (Frank Deal, THE DOGHOUSE, DECEPTION, THE BOURNE LEGACY, NON-STOP, ALGORITHM: BLISS) that I'm sure was at least a distant relative of Amity's own mayor, Larry Vaughn (Murray Hamilton). He reminded me so much of his fellow politician (in actions and philosophy) that I kept expecting him to start pontificating with his own, "Amity, as you know means 'friendship'" speech at any second.
For being the kind of movie that this is, the gore is laid on thick and heavy. If you have a weak stomach, I recommend staying well away from this flick. There are a few jump scares and genuine horrific scenes. All throughout the movie, different characters are filming their experiences where it comes to this sudden epidemic. The entire production was well shot and well executed. If you want to add a real Horror movie to your collection, make it this one, for sure.