Strange Occurrence in Bayside (2008) – By Misty Layne


Strange Occurrence in Bayside is, I think, a short sci-fi film. I’m fairly certain it was either about aliens or fallen angels (or fallen angels who WERE aliens…). I know for sure that there was an oil slick that meant the fallen alien angels were coming (or were there?). I also know for certain that this film had some major issues.

I’m assuming this was someone’s very first film ever, and if that’s the case, for a first film – it could have been worse. There was no shaky, vomit inducing camera work (big ups for that!) and the sound effects were cool. Definitely liked those. Unfortunately, the rest was…not so hot.

One, I got the feeling this was a short story someone wrote, then tried to turn into a short film, because large chunks of it were narration while the camera sat on either an empty street or a guy walking. That’s how the film opened, actually, which meant I was bored right off the bat. SHOW us, don’t TELL us. It’s like the first rule of storytelling, and it was immediately broken. Then there was the sound – which was terrible. There’s a reason I don’t know what was up with those fallen alien angels, and it’s because I couldn’t hear half the film over the background noise when the characters were outside and because of mumbling when they were inside. To make matters worse, the actors didn’t seem comfortable on camera and seemed to just barely know their lines at best – speaking haltingly, with long pauses, strange cadences. Frankly, it was a mess. Which sucked because fallen alien angels sound pretty damn cool.

The filming, while smooth and not jarring (yay!), wasn’t that much better. Instead of editing and making cuts, the filmmakers chose to go with fade-ins/fade-outs to switch angles between characters, which just looked odd. And in one interior scene, the actors weren’t hitting their marks and weren’t being filmed together, so the camera went: Point A…fade…Point B…fade…etc., all while you could see a very prominent piece of equipment in the back ground that was “standing between them”, that clearly wasn’t because they clearly were nowhere near where they should have been to film this scene…grrrr….it was incredibly distracting. Then they decided to add filters – heat mapping was the worst – at random times. Maybe that was supposed to be how people looked to the fallen alien angels? Oh, and possibly the fallen alien angels attacked a couple of times? A couple of the heat mapping scenes had tense music over them (kind of shrieky, like Psycho) with no dialogue, that included the actors doing strange things like pacing with a golf club, yelling and getting an earache? Also, one actor seemed to have a stomachache the entire time – at least he kept putting his hand over is stomach – so I felt bad for him.

Then there were just the tiny things, like: does this guy really sleep with clothes on? Does he really sleep with lights on? Seriously, no one notices two guys standing on a sidewalk with what looks like a big gun (I think it was a lightbeam or something?)? Why would the fallen alien angels look like the Men in Black? *sighs* So many things…

Strange Occurrence in Bayside might have been interesting if it a) had better actors and b) one could hear the story. Just those two things would greatly improve this work. But these guys DID try and I give them kudos for that. I still can’t recommend this film though. Maybe if I’m right about it being based off a short story, you should find and read that. Now THAT could be interesting. However, if you’re feeling brave, check it out on Amazon: