Richard Brancatisano (Power Rangers Mystic Force)
Xavier Samuel (Fury)
Sharni Vinson (Blue Crush 2)
Julian McMahon (Nip/Tuck)
Phoebe Tonkin (The Orignals)
Alice Parkinson (X-Men Origins)
Cariba Heine (H20)
Directed by Australian filmmaker Kimble Rendall and written by Russell Mulcahy and John Kim, Bait (or if you prefer, Bait 3D) begins with an opening scene in which a lifeguard named Josh (Xavier Samuel) is goofing around with his fiancé, Tina (Sharni Vinson), the sister of his friend and fellow lifeguard, Rory (Richard Brancatisano). When Rory heads out into the surf to check on a buoy, he doesn’t see the massive great white shark that has cruised on into the area and while Josh heads out on the Jet-Ski as quickly as he can in hopes of saving his friend, it’s too little too late and Rory winds up as shark food.
Cut to a few years down the road and Josh is working in a supermarket andwouldn’t you know it, Tina wanders in out of nowhere with her new man, Steven (Qi Yuwu). While this is going on, security guard Ryan (Alex Russell) gets fired by the store’s owner manager (Adrian Pang) when his girlfriend Jaime (Phoebe Tonkin) gets busted for shoplifting. The cops are called and wouldn’t you know it, the officer assigned to the case is none other than Jamie’s own father (Martin Sacks). Meanwhile, in the car park under the store, a young couple are making out unaware that just around the corner a pair of robbers, Doyle (Julian McMahon) and Kirby (Dan Wyllie), are planning a heist. It all comes to a head as a massive tidal wave suddenly hits the town and rips through the store, bringing along with it two great white sharks – one which patrols the car park, the other the store itself. In order to make it out alive, the survivors are going to have to figure out how to restore power to the flooded store and kill the sharks before they can kill them.
Bait starts off reasonably well and appears like it’s going to do a pretty good job of developing its key characters but once that tidal wave hits, it’s all about the shark attacks. This is all well and good, those are the reasons we watch movies like this after all, but aside from a little bit of tension that arises between Josh, Tina and Steven there’s not a lot here to latch on to. The relationship between Jamie and her cop father looks like it might go places here and there but never really does and the rest of the characters are pretty one dimensional. For the most part, Bait is little more than a standard bodycount movie, much like a slasher film with a couple of sharks in place of a masked killer and it follows many of the same established conventions as those movies. As such, we’re not dealing with anything particularly original here, but the movie is entertaining enough in its own completely superficial way.
The effects work is occasionally heavy on computer generated pieces but mixes up some traditional effects fairly effectively. The movie gets good and bloody during the shark attack scenes, using the obvious ‘shot for 3D’ trick of letting severed body parts float around in the water a couple of times. There are some good jump scares here and the sharks are considerably more menacing than you might expect them to be for something created entirely on a hard drive. The film sets itself apart from the countless other killer shark movies that have been churned out seemingly every month or so as of late by making good use of its location. The survivors spend most of the time perched atop the ramshackle shelving of the grocery store and are able to use the different props you might find in such a place throughout the movie. The best example of this is when Steven volunteers to head underwater to the other side of the room to switch on the electrical power and he and the others build himself an impromptu shark cage out of the materials that they have on hand. The movie gets a couple of bonus points for the creativity behind that scene, but with that and a few other minor exceptions, this is pretty much done by the book. It’s fun, it’s gory, and it’s entertaining and for some that’ll be enough. There’s absolutely no shame in that at all – but those looking for substance have probably figured out at this point in the review that they should look elsewhere.