A small tourist town in Maryland is stricken with horror overnight during their annual 4th of July celebration by a lethal parasite seemingly connected to the town’s water supply. This horrific scenario is made worse when we learn the citizens of this quiet town are also dying from a flesh-eating virus working in tandem with the parasites. The entire film is narrated by a reporter who was present during the events, and is set to “found footage” pulled from various sources from in and around the town, in what I can only describe as a documentary-style horror.
Advertised as a movie from the same producers who brought us Insidious and Paranormal Activity, I have to say that it falls short of what I expected. Maybe they set the bar too high by advertising this way, but when you say it’s from the minds behind Insidious and Paranormal Activity, I expect a horror film on that same level. Instead, we get a terrible actress playing the reporter, narrating with absolutely zero inflection or emotion. She is supposed to be telling the tale, and any good storyteller knows you have to do more than just read words to tell a good story – you have to get involved emotionally and enthusiastically. She even has lines where she says things like, “I’m sorry, I thought this was going to be easier to tell,” or, “I just get so emotional when I think back to that night.” Meanwhile her demeanor and voice do not alter. Maybe the creators of the movie thought by getting a bad actress to play the reporter it would seem “real”, but it doesn’t; it makes me very aware that I’m watching an actress just read lines off of a screen.
Although technically this would be defined as a found footage horror movie, the documentary style way in which it is portrayed makes it quite enjoyable. Bear in mind, it lacks the typical shaky camera and loud, obnoxious “camera sounds” that come with today’s found footage movies, so maybe that’s why it’s easier to endure. Take note, future found footage directors. Just because you’re using home cameras doesn’t mean you can’t be professional with them. The remaining actors were also decent, and didn’t pull me out of the movie like the narrating reporter did. I have to say that I wish there were more scenes with the parasites, and more of a climactic ending than just words on a screen and a cut to black. I half-expected the government to show up in trucks and start taking people out to contain the infection, or maybe just dropping a bomb from the sky, with one of the townsfolk leaving their last words in the camera just before it made contact. Alas, this was not the case.
The plot was incredibly creative and original, and actually made sense to the point where you think twice about swimming in a lake again. To explain in a nutshell, the town has a chicken plant right next to the bay which is their main water source. They have a big water filtration system right next to the bay which feeds water to the town and the chicken factory. There was a radiation leak a couple years ago in the bay which radiated the algae and the sea life. The chickens drank the radiated water and ate their steroid-mixed chicken feed, and the massive amount of chicken feces from the plant was discarded into the same bay. Parasites living in the bay fed off the steroid-fueled, radioactive chicken feces and grew substantially in size. Larvae from these parasites were too small for the water filtration system and thus the townsfolk and chickens alike all became infected with radioactive parasites. The parasites ate them from the inside out while the radiation poisoning ate their skin from the outside in. I think it goes without saying, but don’t watch this movie while you’re eating.
While certainly not the best horror movie in the world, it served its purpose as an Independence Day horror movie, and it definitely keeps you entertained. Aside from the terrible acting from the narrator, I can’t think of many other reasons to discredit the movie. It’s gross, cringe-worthy, and everything you’d expect from a horror movie about parasites.
This movie is…
Radioactive parasites and 4th of July. Just another day in a horror movie!
Cheers and goodnight.