Film Review: Bait
I haven’t had a good time with horror movies lately.
And it continues.
TL;DR Bait has a few charms and a competent cast, but it can’t shake its bizarrely slow pacing and weirdly low-budget feel. 2 out of 5 stars.
This thing cost $20 million? How? Did Julian McMahon eat the money?
The plot is promising. A bunch of people get trapped inside the world’s least impressive supermarket due to a freak tsunami. Also, sharks. Blah blah blah a few people get eaten. The main character has some shit going on with his ex-girlfriend who just happened to be in the shop. Julian McMahon is a thief under duress. Lincoln Lewis is a douche. The usual monster movie subplots. Then almost nobody gets killed and they escape.
Okay, so the premise for this movie is: bunch of mostly young, attractive people (and it’s Australian, so bonus points from me for that) are caught in a shop with great white sharks following a motherfucking tsunami. That sounds pretty exciting, right?
It’s not. I couldn’t get over just how dull this movie is. Eveyone stays huddled in the same room for the entire movie. They make a few underwhelming attempts at escape and they have to deal with some tsunami damage-related issues, but other than that it’s a total fucking snooze.
This is not helped by the sharks being suspiciously incompetent for a movie that depends on them being ball-tearingly meanacing. I mean, nobody wants to see Shark Night’s jet ski leaping super sharks again, but these sharks are groan-inducingly bad at their job. Come on, guys.
I suppose it makes me glad that they’re unable to eat most of the cast that I care about. But it’s a rough trade-off.
Why I hate this movie:
It’s also a victim of the “everything is colourless because this is a gritty horror movie. This makes it look credible, right?” virus.
Almost nobody dies. Seriously. The only character deaths are Sharni Vinson’s (the chick from Step Up 3. Or Home and Away, for the Australian shut-ins who think they’re too good for Neighbours. You bitches) brother during the prologue, a random bitch who gets shot by Julian McMahon’s partner before the tsunami hits, the bartender from Terra Nova, the douchebag shop owner, Sharni Vinson’s new boyfriend, Lincoln Lewis and the guy who shot the chick.
That looks like a pretty impressive bodycount, but let’s have a look at our survivors: Xavier, Sharni, Phoebe Tonkin (TVD reppin‘), Phoebe’s dad, Pheobe’s boyfriend, Lincoln’s girlfriend, her fucking dog, Julian McMahon and that brunette chick that contributes nothing. That is not an appropriate number of survivors for a monster movie where the only draw is people getting eaten by sharks. Deplorable.
Sharni, Phoebe and Julian frequently let their learned American accents bleed through. Unless one/some/all of them are supposed to be American? They’re all Australian actors. It was distracting.
Lincoln tosses the dog to save himself from the shark. Cunt.
I didn’t give even a quarter of a fuck about Xavier and Sharni’s emotional baggage bullshit. Really, that whole subplot with her brother dying in the beginning was unnecessary. This is a movie about sharks in a shop. It’s not that complicated.
Oh, and there’s one tiny plot hole near the end that I just couldn’t get past. So, there are 2 places of “action”: the shop, and the car park. The car park, where Phoebe’s boyfriend, Lincoln and Blondie are, is a level below the shop floor and accessible by a flight of stairs. When Xavier and crew goes to rescue them, they make a point about how opening the door to the stairwell would flood the basement, so they can’t do it. Fair enough. However, when they successfully rescue Blondie and Boyfriend (and remember, the shop shark is only locked up, not dead yet) nobody thinks to now allow the shop’s water to drain into the garage. This would make things more convenient. And also, you know, beach the still-alive shark. But then that would spoil the big ending, so I guess there’s the answer.
Reasons to watch:
The cast is surprisingly cool. I’m no big Sharni Vinson lover, but she’s hot and Aussie. I do love Phoebe Tonkin, but you should already know that (you read my TVD posts, don’t you? Please?). And Xavier Samuel is pretty hot, you know. It’s the simple truth.
It’s nice to know Julian McMahon is still alive. But he has seen better times. Oh, nostalgia.
The dog survived. Fucking twist.
Lincoln also dies due to his assholery. Justice.
Although I complained about the sharks being ineffective, I do think it’s refreshing to have a movie monster (particularly a shark) that isn’t supernaturally intelligent. The sharks behave almost like animals instead of plot-facilliatating, omniescent assassins.
The beach at the beginning is pretty.
There are a shitload of dead, dismembered extras. Phoebe’s boyfriend even breaks off a corpse’s hand to distract a shark. Pragmatic.
So the gore factor is pretty decent. The store owner’s bisection is probably the most impressive, but it was spoiled by the trailer.
Sharni’s boyfriend’s death is unintentionally hilarious. They suit him up in this ridiculous looking “armour” so he can wade through the water and shut off the electricity (so a loose wire doesn’t electrocute the whole shop. Keep up). He’s a few centimetres short with his air hose so he makes the brave sacrifice. He drowns because he can’t get the armour off in time and is only, like, a hand length from the surface of the water. It’s amazing.
Sharni is pretty chill about Xavier’s role in her brother’s death. Xavier’s all cut up about it, but Sharni’s like “Meh, not your fault, bro.” Good Guy Ex-Girlfriend.
Oh, and the actors were legit submerged in water for days on end. So I guess something from this movie makes me smile.
It’s better than Shark Night. But Piranha 3DD was better than Shark Night, so it’s not much of an accomplishment. But hey, Phoebe Tonkin. 2 out of 5 stars.