Exclusive: Two images of isopods from Barry Levinson’s unsettling eco-horror ‘The Bay’

I’ll have a review of Barry Levinson’s new film “The Bay” later today for you.  First, though, I thought I’d share a couple of images of the Isopods, the creatures that are the primary threat in the movie.

When Levinson was first approached by the producers, they wanted him to make a documentary about the way Chesapeake Bay is dying.  While he decided against doing the documentary because he saw one that he felt did a solid job of covering the topic, the more he read, the more fascinated he became by just how the bay is dying and why.

In particular, he was horrified by what he learned about isopods, and if you want to crank up the nightmares, just run a Google image search for “isopods.”  Specifically “giant isopods.”  Some of those actual images made their way into “The Bay,” and at the Q&A after we saw the film, one of the audience members asked Levinson how much they had to exaggerate the isopods.  “We didn’t,” Levinson said.  “Those Google images you see are real.”

In the film, there is a canny blend of real images, computer effects by Hydraulx, and practical make-ups, and the result is often very upsetting.  We’ve got two images for you today from the film, and I want to warn you up front that one of them is somewhat graphic.  I’m warning you so there’s no surprise.

First up, you’ll see one of the Isopods on a woman’s thigh, just to give you a sense of scale for the things you’ll see in the movie…

… and then we’ve got the more unsettling image, an Isopod escaping from the mouth of someone it has already parasitically devoured.

“The Bay” is an unexpected chapter in the filmography of Barry Levinson, and it’s nice to see a totally different filmmaking muscle being utilized by him.  Here’s the film’s official synopsis:

Two million fish washed ashore. One thousand blackbirds dropped from the sky. On July 4, 2009 a deadly menace swept through the quaint seaside town of Claridge, Maryland, but the harrowing story of what happened that Independence Day has never been told – until now.

From Oscar-winning director Barry Levinson and the producers of Paranormal Activity and Insidious comes this nerve-shredding tale of a small town plunged into absolute terror. The authorities believed they had buried the truth about the tragedy that claimed over 700 human lives. Now, three years later, a reporter has emerged with footage revealing the cover-up and an unimaginable killer: a mysterious parasitic outbreak. Told from the perspective of those who were there and saw what happened, The Bay unfolds over 24 hours though people’s iPhones, Androids, 911 calls, web cams, and whatever else could be used to document the nightmare in Claridge.

And here’s the one-sheet for the film:

If you are a glutton for punishment, you can always decide to learn more about the Isopods

The film arrives in theaters, and will also be available on video-demand and iTunes tomorrow Nov. 2