This cautionary eco-horror movie from veteran US director Barry Levinson (‘Rain Man’), makes no secret of its plan to ‘merge the conventions of found-footage horror cinema with targeted social commentary’. Maryland resident Levinson takes his own fears about Chesapeake Bay, a place polluted with chemical fertilisers and steroid-heavy chicken manure, and pours them into a tale of mutated, insect-like isopods, which jump the species barrier from fish to humans and feed on their host’s intestines.
Set on Independence Day 2009, but presented as a retrospective campaigning video about a hushed-up incident, it’s anchored by local TV presenter Donna (Kether Donohue), whose reportage is supplemented with footage garnered from mobile phones, social media, police surveillance and the rest. Since the epidemic induces paranoid behaviour and foments social chaos, there’s more than a whiff of apocalypse, and hyperbolic, over-scored montage sequences drive home the political point. More coherent and thought-provoking than most ‘found-footage’ horror movies, this should appeal to genre fans and eco-activists alike.