Generally favorable reviews - based on 20 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 20
  2. Negative: 1 out of 20
  1. Reviewed by: David Cox
    Oct 29, 2012
    Levinson has always been acutely interested in the minutiae of human behaviour, and it's this concern that makes The Bay the triumph that it is.
  2. Reviewed by: Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Nov 1, 2012
    One hell of a creepy little eco-horror picture.
  3. Reviewed by: Jeannette Catsoulis
    Nov 1, 2012
    This astonishingly effective environmental nightmare is based on reasoning that, if you've been following the science, seems all too possible.
  4. Reviewed by: Noel Murray
    Oct 31, 2012
    The result is surprisingly satisfying, like "Jaws" for the YouTube/Skype era.
  5. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Nov 4, 2012
    Is it, on some level, '70s-style horror schlock dressed up with contemporary gimmicks? Sure, but don't act like that's a bad thing! It's schlock with honor, schlock with a conscience, schlock that speaks to the way we live now.
  6. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Oct 31, 2012
    The Bay, a real creepfest, joins the suggestive company of eco-terror entries like Hitchcock's "The Birds" and 1979's "Prophecy."
  7. Reviewed by: Sean OConnell
    Nov 2, 2012
    A ripped-from-the-headlines psychological chiller that burrows under the skin with its terrifyingly local twist.
  8. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Nov 1, 2012
    The Bay manages to scare up a real fear of environmental neglect. It's quite possibly the first example of jump scares used in service of activism.
  9. Reviewed by: Drew Taylor
    Nov 1, 2012
    Levinson is interested in humanity, in the small moments that make us who we are, and it's these moments that make The Bay so chilling.
  10. Reviewed by: Rex Reed
    Oct 30, 2012
    Best of all, I applaud the director's triumph of intimate terror over preposterous puppets and noisy computer-generated effects. In The Bay, the mayhem is both fresh and thrilling.
  11. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Nov 6, 2012
    It's a small movie but an effective one, using found footage as a means to an end and not as an end in itself. More like it would be a welcome trend.
  12. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Nov 7, 2012
    Although there are some scary moments here, and a lot of gruesome ones, this isn't a horror film so much as a faux eco-documentary.
  13. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Nov 1, 2012
    The Bay is better than a shallow exercise, but crabby horror fans may have preferred that Levinson took a real plunge.
  14. Reviewed by: Matt Glasby
    Feb 16, 2013
    All prologue and no pay-off, but compelling all the same, this curio plays out like Diary Of The Dead with more diaries and fewer dead.
  15. Reviewed by: Karina Longworth
    Nov 1, 2012
    Despite a handful of legit creepy moments, the film's concern with superficial realism prevents it from really hitting home; its fuzzy, fractured depiction of disaster never comes close to conjuring the "holy shit it could happen here don't touch that doorknob" real-world paranoia of last year's artfully Hollywood-ized disaster film, "Contagion."
  16. Reviewed by: Wesley Morris
    Nov 1, 2012
    Lacks the creepy immediacy of even the most misbegotten of the found-footage genre.
  17. Reviewed by: Chris Cabin
    Oct 29, 2012
    The Bay is Barry Levinson's most engaged and entertaining movie since "Wag the Dog," which isn't to say that he's given up his irksome predilection for a certain bullish type of liberalism.
  18. Reviewed by: Mark Olsen
    Nov 2, 2012
    The story becomes more ridiculous as it escalates, the film's over-determined ecological focus undermining any real horror movie tension. Levinson's casting choices are off-the-mark as well - star Kether Donohue is just plain bad.
  19. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Nov 1, 2012
    There is a lot of nasty stuff to look at, but very little that is genuinely haunting, jolting or terrifying.
  20. Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    Nov 1, 2012
    The Oscar-winning director of "Rain Man" - whose last film, the abysmal documentary "PoliWood" never went much further than the Tribeca Film Festival - demonstrates he can make a shakycam found-footage horror movie every bit as fake-looking, clumsy and unscary as your average college student working on a $200 budget.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 40 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 16
  2. Negative: 6 out of 16
  1. Nov 14, 2012
    I kind like this film after I have watched so many boring,over-performed scary film.We all know after The Rec and The Blair Witch Project. Many scary movies copy their filming way(play out through handled camera). Some movies got succeed like Paranormal Activity and Cloverfield. But some movies are total garbage,like The Devil Inside ,Apollo 18 and so on. But this one, The Bay is really great actually. It focus more on the reaction of the local government and show us clearly how the disease spread out and people get sick and desperate. Full Review »
  2. Jul 7, 2014
    More than just a good eco-horror flick with documental-style direction, The Bay is a fantastic examination of the political intrigue brewing beneath the "community-interest" campaign while constantly leaving us breathless with some visually impressive elements of horror and shocking discoveries. Full Review »
  3. May 23, 2013
    The Bay looks so real, that's why it's so scary.
    There are so many disgusting moments and some really great shocks!
    It's a fine eco-horror
    I've never seen something like that before Full Review »