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Bait 3D - movie review

Calling Bait 3D a crap film would be a compliment.

It’s a locally-made movie about sharks eating people in a flooded supermarket: it’s supposed to be crap. Crap is what it’s aspiring to. Mindless, silly crap where ten minutes after you leave all you can remember is the cool way someone got chomped by a killer shark. And there’s nothing wrong at all with making that your goal. Some of the most enjoyable films of all time have taken that approach, especially if they involve killer sharks eating idiots. Problem is, Bait doesn’t even manage that.

A year after seeing his friend (and brother of his girlfriend) chomped by a shark while taking his shift as the local lifeguard, Josh (Xavier Samuel) is now a depressed supermarket shelf-stacker going through the motions while he waits for his heart to heal. Then his now ex-girlfriend Tina (Sharmi Vinson) turns up, only she’s got a new boyfriend! And Julian McMahon and a masked buddy are going to rob the place! And Ryan (Alex Russell) just lost his job because his girlfriend Jaimie (Phoebe Tonkin) loves to shoplift to piss off her cop father (Martin Sacks)! So it’s shaping up to be a pretty busy day at this particular supermarket even before a tsunami hits, flooding the store and the parking garage below.

When it emerges that a couple of twelve-foot great white sharks have been flushed into the supermarket, there are thirteen survivors all set to become shark food. So you’d think “surplus cast members” would be a pretty large category. Turns out that for a movie about killer sharks this doesn’t really feel the need to constantly shovel cast members down various shark’s gullets, and the overall body count remains depressingly, frustratingly low. Unless you’re of Asian decent, mind you: while being a woman is pretty much a sure-fire guarantee of survival, being non-white seems to make things a little dicier around these particular sharks.

The great whites do at least claim a couple of victims – including one via a pretty impressive standing jump out of the water – and for one character, making a personal shark cage out of supermarket shelving was never going to end well. But time and time again instead of seeing some surplus-to-requirements cast member turned into party snacks like we’ve come to this movie to see, instead we see them hauled out of the water just in the nick of time.

It’s as if director Kimble Rendall (responsible for the extremely dubious slasher flick Cut) couldn’t think of any other way to create suspense than by repeating the same old narrow escape time and time again. Let’s not forget, close shaves are only exciting when sometimes the person doesn’t make it. Oh but then we get a part where someone has a giant fishhook stuck into their torso and is used as human bait to lure the shark away from everyone else and it’s hard not to think “why didn’t you lead with this stuff?”

With such a large cast spending much of the film sitting around on top of supermarket shelves wondering if their loyalty card covers dismemberment, the humans really should have given the sharks a run for their money when it came to chewing the scenery. Alas, only the ever-reliable Dan Wyllie really takes charge and hams it up here: everyone else in the supermarket is content to let their damp clothing set the tone for their performances.

Things are slightly more entertaining in the flooded carpark, where Russell seems to be having fun trying to survive alongside an abs-flashing comedy brodude (Lincoln Lewis) and his Paris Hilton (complete with little dog) wannabe girlfriend (Cariba Heine). Just don’t ask how the carpark still has air when it’s under the flooded supermarket, or how brodude’s car is somehow completely watertight after the deluge.

Bait 3D isn’t a complete loss – there are still sharks in a supermarket after all – but considering it’s about, well, sharks in a supermarket, this really should have been a lot more fun. Or any kind of fun really: the performances aren’t bad enough, the deaths aren’t crazy enough, the twists aren’t surprising enough (if you don’t see the big twist coming, presumably you’ve been asleep) and the whole thing is nowhere near silly enough. Let’s put it this way: if you make a killer shark movie that features an annoying little dog and the annoying little dog doesn’t get chomped, you’re doing it wrong.

Anthony Morris

 

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