Blu-ray Review: Bait

Bait Blu-raySTUDIO: Anchor Bay | DIRECTOR: Kimble Rendall | CAST: Xavier Samuel, Sharni Vinson, Alex Russell, Phoebe Tonkin, Julian McMahon
BLU-RAY & DVD RELEASE DATE: 9/18/2012 | PRICE: DVD $24.98, Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray/DVD Combo $29.99
BONUSES: storyboard gallery
SPECS: R | 93 min. | Thriller | 1.78:1 widescreen | Dolby TrueHD 7.1/Dolby Digital 5.1 | Spanish subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

The Australian hungry shark thriller Bait is an acceptable genre entry that delivers what it can within its low-budget constraints and narrative confines, which pigeonhole it to essentially being a variation on Renny Harlin’s film Deep Blue Sea (1999), mashed-up a bit with Snakes on a Plane (2006) and the 2008 extraterrestrials-in-the-market indie Alien Raiders.

Bait 3D movie sceneThe too-long set-up introduces us to a group of people who are in the wrong beachside supermarket at the wrong time—a cutesy couple and their dog, a shapely shoplifter, a former lifeguard and his ex and a group of thieves led by the most recognizable name in the cast, Julian McMahon (TV’s Nip/Tuck). They’re all going about their business when a  freak tsunami hits and traps them inside the building, along with a pack of hungry sharks (a great white among them). As the ensemble begins to shrink, the survivors attempt to work together to find their way out of the market before getting eaten (and without redeeming any coupons).

Directed by Kimble Rendall and credited to six writers, including slick genre veteran Russell Mulcahay (Resident Evil: Extinction), Bait offers a bunch of scenarios wherein the waterlogged survivors navigate there way atop nearly-submerged supermarket shelves, lighting fixtures and parked cars. There are some cute wrinkles—one adventurous shopper creates a metallic shark-cage suit out of shopping carts—but the shark attacks (which appear every ten minutes or so) and inevitable in-fighting between the survivors are never very distinguished or clever.

The CGI visual effects are adequate for a movie with Bait’s budgetary restraints. Ironically, it’s the visualization of the sharks that are the weakest element here. That said, the tsumani itself and the subsequent flooding, explosions and crumbling walls in the submerged market look pretty good in their Blu-ray rendering. Maybe it looks even better its 3D version…

The only bonus feature on the Blu-ray is an extensive storyboard gallery that outlines Bait’s most prominent scenes. A quick featurette detailing the ins and outs of shooting on such watery (and fiery!) sets wouldn’t have hurt…

For undemanding viewers looking for a shark flick, there are plenty of weaker candidates out there (2-Headed Shark Attack, anyone?) and they could do a lot worse than taking a bite out of this bait.

 

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About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.