Bait: Released on DVD & Blu-ray 29th April

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Bait (2012)

(15) Running time: 93 minutes

Director: Kimble Rendall

Writer: Russell Mulcahy

Cast: Richard Brancatisano, Xavier Samuel, Chris Betts, Sharni Vinson, Simon Edds, Dan Wylie, Alice Parkinson, Phoebe Tonkin

Reviewed by Matt Wavish

There is a pretty basic rule with shark films: the story doesn’t necessarily need to be all that complex or complicated, but it should contain sharks, and it should contain shark attacks. Whether farfetched like the Shark Attack series or anything from The Asylum of SyFy channel, to the slightly more believable stuff like Jaws, Open Water and The Reef, we come here to see a group of unfortunates terrorized by a shark (or group of sharks, even better!) Director Kimble Rendall’s Bait delivers exactly what we expect, yet unlike the tame Shark Night 3D, Bait actually has the balls to show a fair amount of blood and torn limbs. Oddly Bait never made it to UK cinemas, while Shark Night 3D did (both were made in the same year). Released in US cinemas last year, Bait should have come to UK cinemas in the same format, in 3D. In cinemas, Bait 3D would have been a hell of a lot more fun than Shark Night 3D, and in case you hadn’t guessed, I am slightly angered by  the fact Bait did not get the release it so deserved. Oh well, we will have to settle for a DVD and Blu-ray (with 3D if you have a 3D TV) to enjoy this film, and enjoy it you will.


Based in Australia, the strong accents really give the film some added authenticity, and add a real element of fun to the proceedings. The story centres on an underground shopping mall which suffers badly after a massive tsunami wrecks the small Gold Coast town in which the film is based. The mall ends up under water, and a very large Great White Shark has found its way in, and it is hungry! The film then plays out, as expected, as a battle for survival as those unlucky ones trapped in the mall have to try and find a way out, and somehow survive the increasingly violent attacks by the shark. The cast of characters have all ended up in the mall for various reasons: back stories included two former lovers who were engaged until a shark attack caused devastation to their romance, there are another two lovers, one works in the mall and his girlfriend steals from the mall (her Father is the local policeman, also trapped). Then there is the mall manager, a bizarre young lad and his spoiled girlfriend and her pooch, and there is also the trusty bunch of criminals who were in the process of robbing the mall when the tsunami hit. It is fair to say there is a character here to please everyone, and plenty of gorgeous girls to help give red blooded males something extra to look at!


So the cast is in place, the back stories are whizzed through, the tsunami hits and we get straight to the shark action, and it is good. Granted there are times when 3D would have benefitted, and being in 2D you will see problems, but that is a minor quibble. The low budget is used to stunning effect, and the underwater shots of the shark are superb. There is plenty of bloodshed here too, with lots of limbs coming off, a body floating away from its arm, glorious shots of the shark chomping its prey underwater and a man is bitten in half! Bait certainly achieves its 15 certificate with style and charisma, and there are even numerous shots of the shark raising its head out of the water, with blood all over its face from its last meal. It is great to see a shark film which really goes for it rather than dumbs down the violence for the sake of a lower rating (Shark Night I am looking at you!), and the fact that for the majority the special effects are actually very good, Bait really gives shark movie fans everything they are looking for.


However, Bait does not play everything deadly serious, and that really helps make this film way more fun than it should be. There are some issues with the acting, but given the films playful nature, the bad acting almost seems intentional, which in turn makes it even funnier. Watching a criminal deliver the line “shark is only curious about one thing, whether we are food or not”, with a deadly straight face is hilarious. Then there is the clever clogs who announces that the shark is six feet from dorsal fin to tail, and the even cleverer bastard who answers the follow up question, “what does that mean” with “it means there is a twelve foot Great White Shark in here!”. No shit Sherlock, but it is moments like this which allow the viewer to be in on the jokes and really enjoy it. Funnier still is when the tsunami hits and the residents all run for their lives, apart from one surfer dude who runs TOWARD the tsunami with a big grin on his face. Bait is not a comedy, but it certainly has a great sense of humour. Then there is the homemade shark suit which really has to be seen to be believed!


Bait does offer plenty of seriously tense moments too: a drowning scene is particularly unsettling, and the creepy looking shark adds real menace to the events. The music is well suited to what happens, and when the cast need to deliver being scared, they pull it off in style. There are even one or two genuine jumpy moments. Yet, the script can let the film down at times, and there is a massive lull in the excitement factor when the shark has been absent for a while, but with such a small scope and limited story, that is to be expected. Rendall directs the tight, small story with ambition and a massive sense of adventure, and makes a hell of a lot more out of what could have become a very repetitive film. Thankfully Bait offers up surprise after surprise, and is one of the best shark movies I have seen in some time.

Rating: ★★★★★★★☆☆☆

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About Matt Wavish 598 Articles
A keen enthusiast and collector of all horror and extreme films. I can be picky as i like quality in my horror. This doesn't necessarily mean it has to be a classic, but as long as it has something to impress me then i'm a fan. I watch films by the rule that if it doesn't bring out some kind of emotive response then it aint worth watching.

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