Well, this is unexpected. Often found lurking in bargain bins or the same ‘you may like’ suggestions as “Sharknado” and “Sharktopus”, “Bait” is actually a pretty decent film. The opening scenes feature a beach that actually looks like a beach (and not a scrubby waterfront). There’s actual cinematography and decent acting. I’m all in on this one.
A year after a shark attack brought his lifeguarding career to a tragic end, Josh (Xavier Samuel) finds himself working in a supermarket when a freak tsunami inundates the building and floods the aisles. But the water has brought with it a shark and Josh must help the survivors of the disaster evade the predator while trying to find a way out.
Probably costing the same as “Jurassic Shark” and “Raiders Of The Lost Shark” in the first ten minutes, “Bait” manages to use its disaster movie set-up quite effectively and makes the flooded supermarket under threat from a shark concept seem, at the very least, credible. In addition to the disaster and the threat of the shark, there’s also a subplot about a robbery gone wrong which adds some tension thanks to Julian McMahon’s menacing turn as the crook with nothing to lose. An impressively watertight BMW provides some additional drama in a completely flooded basement car park. Supermarket thrillers aren’t a popular genre but, like “The Mist”, after the story has placed everyone where they need to be and reminded you of everyone’s key attributes, the tension builds as you wait for the first shark attack to start thinning the herd.
Director Kimble Rendall makes impressive use of floating detritus to build tension and there are some effective shots and cleverness in the reveals as the death mounts up. The model work is better than the CGI and the film is wise enough to borrow from the “Jaws” playbook, only showing the shark fleetingly and when necessary.
Most of the acting is decent which unfortunately that makes Dan Wylie’s awkward turn as one of the thieves conspicuously awful but it’s not enough to spoil the party. The actions pretty good too and although one character’s sacrifice is the most unnecessary since papa Kent shook his head in “Man Of Steel”, there’s a sequence involving a makeshift shark cage suit that strikes a fine balance between brilliance and insanity.
“Bait” has been the surprise package of Shark Weak. Perhaps the previous films have beaten my expectations to such a low point that I couldn’t possibly be disappointed but this is a smart, solid disaster movie with a shark twist that’s far better than the company it’s forced to keep would suggest.