directed by Kimble Rendall
(Anchor Bay, 2012)

A tsunami hits a coastal city in Australia, destroying buildings and probably killing thousands of people. But we're supposed to forget all that and worry instead about a dozen or so folks who are trapped in a flooded supermarket and adjoining carpark with a couple of hungry sharks.

Bait is another low-budget Australian film that pits people against man-eaters. (It's always crocs or sharks in Australian movies. This time, it's sharks.)

It starts off with a couple of people getting eaten off-shore, leaving lifeguard Josh (Xavier Samuel) living in guilt because he couldn't save his chum. Then, boom, a tsunami hits a year later and he has to deal with sharks again -- this time at the basement-level grocery where he's taken a new job.

The movie attempts to supply some backstory for several characters -- there's Josh's ex-fiancee and her new boyfriend; the cop dad who just arrested his shoplifter daughter, along with her honest boyfriend and the jerky store manager who fired him; a vacuous couple and their yappy dog; a homicidal thief and his unwilling partner, and a few others. There's drama with romance and guns and all that, and then BOOM, there's water everywhere, and everyone's trapped. And there's sharks, although it's not really clear how they got there. And they're very hungry.

I've seen worse shark movies, but let's be honest, the acting here isn't great, the writing is mundane, the combination of animatronics and CGI is passable but not truly convincing, and the plot is just a little too silly to be taken seriously. The latter might have worked if the movie was willing to wink at the audience a bit, but the movie-makers aren't laughing with us.

The movie stars no one of note ... except, jeez, what's Julian McMahon doing in this thing? Has his star -- after being a regular in Charmed, Nip/Tuck and the Fantastic Four movies -- fallen so low?

review by
Tom Knapp

26 August 2017

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