“Where you go, I go,” Josh to Tina
Those looking for a sorbet to clean their palette, after the bitter taste of the dire SHARK NIGHT recently, might have hoped BAIT would be that restorative. However, it proves just as shoddy, with even worse special effects. I know, hard to believe. Who doesn’t love sharks-gone-wild flicks, the enjoyable monster movie subgenre? From the masterful (JAWS) to the hugely satisfying guilty pleasure (DEEP BLUE SEA), they are in the same movie family as nutty crocodile/alligator B-movies (LAKE PLACID, ROGUE).
BAIT - humanity versus nature’s most formidable underwater anniversary, the Great White. The intro is as clumsy as you might’ve feared. On an Australian beach, Josh the beach lifeguard looses his bud to a shark attack, with a cry of “Nooooooooo!” That isn’t even the last time a character makes the cliché cry of anguish. It’s that kind of script. In a CLIFFHANGER-stylee, Josh can’t face his profession anymore, and splits up with his girl. Twelve months later we join him stacking shelves in a coastline supermarket. The other players are quickly introduced. Cannon fodder. Looks like the filmmakers thought so too, and don’t both lavishing them with any kind of characterisation. Contrast the wonderful TREMORS.
A tsunami hits, and the area is laid waste. The sequence is the only stand out. The supermarket is flooded and the survivors of the initial destruction are trapped in the building. The action takes place in two areas: The main shopping area, and the underground car park. Oh yeah, and included among the customers and employees are a couple of particularly hungry sharks. And these two never seem sated by their human meals, no matter how many they eat. Gluttons.
Fun should come through this equation:
People we care about attempting to survive + Carnage reeked by [whatever monster is the star] = Enjoyment
See the above applied to ALIENS or INDEPENDENCE DAY or JURASSIC PARK or PREDATOR. The problem here is that BAIT gives us nobody to root for, which means the mathematical formula fails.
Rubbing salt in the movie-watching wound, the protagonists are in a supermarket, ripe for a little allegory, but no morsels are offered up. We are definitely not in DAWN OF THE DEAD or THE MIST territory.
As repetitive scrapes and feeds accumulate, the audience is likely to be rooting for the sharks to just end it already.