Ever since Jaws hit the big screens and made everyone scared to go to the beach, there have been all manner of shark movies to grace screens big and small. Something tells me that we will never again see a shark movie as great as that classic Spielberg film. Fortunately, greatness is not the only lure of his cinematic sub-genre. Sometimes the only goal is to entertain, or at least attempt to. What other way to explain the likes of Deep Blue Sea, Sharktopus, and Jersey Shore Shark Attack? That brings us to the latest tale of sharks gone wild, Bait.
Bait (released theatrically in 3D) comes with the tagline “Cleanup on aisle 7.” Are you curious yet? How about if I told you the concept is, essentially, sharks loose in a grocery store? I know that has to tickle your fancy. When I saw that description, I knew I had to see it for better or for worse. The most surprising fact about the endeavor is that the movie is not all that bad. Seriously.
Now, don’t get ahead of yourself. This is not exactly a great movie, far from it. Perhaps it was the fact that the last shark movie I took the time to sit through was Shark Night (also in 3D), and with that movie being as bad as it was I was grasping for something at least a little bit better. This is definitely better, but it doesn’t exactly reinvent the wheel either.
As the movie opens, we are introduced to a couple of characters and are thrown right into our first shark attack. We aren’t in the grocery store yet, but the six screenwriters (including original director Russell Mulcahy) wanted to make sure we new there is a veritable threat with the sharks. That means, within the first few minutes we get somebody eaten by a shark. The best part of this early kill? The slimy blood that flows through the water. I quite enjoyed the look of the blood dispersing in the water, it has real texture to it.
The time jumps ahead 12 months and we get to the grocery store. We meet a few more people who I am not going to bother naming as it doesn’t really matter. Nice people, bad people, annoying people, dating people, enough people that you start wanting to see them die really quickly.
Anyway, a freak tsunami hits, and these random people find themselves trapped on top of the rows of shelves. There are a few others trapped in the car park. The movie moves back and forth between these two groups and their fight for survival.
There really isn’t a whole lot to say about the story. We have people who survive the tsunami and are looking for a way to get out of the grocery store they are trapped in while a a couple of sharks roam the rising waters around them. They find a few obstacles they need to overcome, some people get eaten, others have big reunions, and when it ends…. Well, that would be telling.
Bait has a somewhat unique setup and while it never quite escapes its low budget roots nor embraces full on camp, it still managed to hold my attention. The effects are dodgy at times with the implementation of CG sharks, but there are some animatronics at play and that is always a welcome site.
Audio/Video. The movie is presented in a ratio of 1.78:1 and looks really good. It may be a low budget movie but the transfer helps a little, just a little, to hide that fact. Right from the start colors are bright and vivid and there is a good level of detail. Facial detail is good in close ups and the blood looks nice floating through the water.
Audio is a Dolby TruHD 7.1 track and I does a fine job of immersing the viewer. The tsunami crashes through the speakers all around you and afterwards there is that constant dripping of water that helps put in in that grocery store.
Extras. The bonus material is limited to a collection of storyboards. That’s it!
Bottomline. It is funny, as I reflect on the movie, it really is mediocre at best with unremarkable acting from a cast of unfamiliar faces. Well, there is one recognizable face, Julian McMahon is there. The directing by Kimble Rendall, who replaced Russell Mulcahy, is unobtrusive and keeps things moving along. Yes, it is enjoyable, just keep your expectations in check.