out of Five
Running time: 93
Bait is undeniably trashy and has a couple of ropey CGI moments, but it's also enormous fun, thanks to pacey direction, strong performances, a number of nicely handled gory bits and a script that pays close attention to the demands of the shark attack genre movie.
What's it all about?
Directed by Kimble Randall, Bait (3D) is set in Australia and stars Xavier Samuel as Josh, an ex-lifeguard who's left traumatised by the death of his fiancée Tina's (Sharni Vinson) brother (Richard Brancatisano) in a shark attack. A year later, Josh is working in what appears to be the world's unluckiest supermarket: first Tina turns up with a new boyfriend (Qi Yuwu), then the supermarket is held up by two gunmen (Julian McMahon and Dan Wylie) and then a freak tidal wave floods the supermarket, trapping all the survivors - including a cop (Martin Sacks) and his tearaway daughter Jamie (Phoebe Tonkin) – inside with a 12 foot Great White shark.
Meanwhile, Jamie's boyfriend Ryan (Alex Russell) has shark-related problems of his own to deal with when he's trapped in the flooded car park under the supermarket, along with dopey jock Kyle (Lincoln Lewis), his girlfriend Heather (Cariba Heine) and her tiny Pomeranian Bulli (Gypsy).
Fortunately, the cast all play it dead straight: Xavier Samuel isn't the most expressive of actors, but he makes a solid and engaging lead as Josh and there's strong support from Julian McMahon and Phoebe Tonkin as the characters you'd most like the shark to leave till last. Similarly, Lincoln Lewis and Cariba Heine provide welcome comic relief and get all the best lines, though Alice Parkinson is almost completely superfluous as Josh's smitten colleague and Dan Wylie overdoes it a bit as giggling psycho Kirby (you'd think he ENJOYED being trapped in a supermarket with a shark).
As well as providing a decent mix of characters, the script pays close attention to the demands of the shark attack genre and there are several decently handled gory bits as a result (people cut in half, someone holding a limb that turns out to have been bitten off, that sort of thing). In addition, the filmmakers have a lot of fun with the shark-in-a-supermarket premise – you even get a two-for-one deal on sharks.
On top of that, the 3D is used to full effect, with plenty of things jumping out at you at regular intervals. It's also decently paced and the various set pieces and payoff moments are a lot of fun.
Indeed, the film's only real problem is the cheap-looking CGI in the tidal wave sequences, though the shoddy effects don't diminish the scene's impact and the actual supermarket/car park flooding bits are extremely effective.
In short, Bait (3D) is a hugely entertaining thriller that delivers pretty much everything you could possibly want from a film about a shark in a supermarket. Highly recommended.