I’m a sucker for killer shark flicks, so when I heard about this one I was cautiously optimistic that it could be a cool entry into this particular entry of the man vs wild horror subgenre.  Recently, a lot of the killer shark movies have been pretty damn awful.  I just cannot get into all of those sci-fi and Roger Corman deals like Sharktopus and shit because for one thing, they’re way too tame, and for another, the all CG sharks are just TOO shitty for me to want to actually sit through them.  Then there was that Shark Night 3D that had a semi cool poster, but totally shit the bed by making the movie tame PG-13, having one of the most idiotic premises in shark movie history, and having the misfortune of following another killer fish movie that did everything right in the genre:Alexander Aja’s remake of Piranha.
So, how does Bait sit in the pantheon of killer man eating shark flicks?  Well, I’d put it right at the same level as Deep Blue Sea, a movie that is certainly nowhere near the level of a classic like Jaws, but is pretty entertaining in its own right, with some nice gore, decent looking sharks (especially when they’re not CG) and a unique premise.  Same things apply to Bait.  The CG sharks mostly look pretty bad, though I suspect if I were to sit down and re-watch Deep Blue Sea, they’d likely be around the same level of quality.  They’re not up to the quality of the fish in Piranha 3D, but don’t lag horrible behind them either like Megaladon or some shit.  They’re definitely MUCH better than the shite you’d see in something like Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus or some crap like that.  The practical sharks looked solid though, and some of the shots of the shark swimming underwater actually look really convincing.  I really liked some of the shots where people are sitting inside a car in a flooded garage and you can see the shark circling around the car from inside through the windows.  It’s creepy, and effective, with the murkiness of the water hiding the CG enough that it looks totally believable.

The premise of this movie is that a freak tsunami hits the shore of Australia trapping a bunch of people in a flooded supermarket and attached underground parking garage.  Unfortunately for the survivors, the wave also happened to wash a couple of hungry 12 foot great white sharks into the supermarket with them.  Also, just before the wave hit, the supermarket was in the middle of being robbed, and one of the robbers, a masked gunman, was in the process of shooting hostages.  So, not only do the survivors have to worry about the hungry aquatic predators circling the shelves in wait of a dangling limb to snack on, but they have murderous robbers in their midst.  Ok, so the robber sub plot isn’t really necessary, and it isn’t much of a mystery which guy in the group was the one with the mask on in the robbery (even without his voice being a 100% tell, they might as well paint a sign on him that says “I am the robber” with how they make him look), but the tension the movie builds with the survivors being forced into one horrible situation after another is pretty damn great actually.

You also get some pretty awesome deaths at the hands of the sharks, a lot of which are done with practical effects, or a good combination of CG and practical.  People are de-limbed, ripped in half, and torn apart and chewed up, all in graphic detail.  Solid stuff.  You can tell that the movie was obviously shot for 3D (I only saw the 2D version) because there’s always stuff shot like it would be poking out of the screen, and the way the blood floating in the water looks, you can tell it would’ve been a cool effect in 3D, so if you can see it that way, I’d say it’s probably worth a shot.  Also, there’s tons of really nasty looking mangled corpses all over the place due to the tsunami, with some really juicy looking effects work. 

As I said, the tension is what seals the deal for this movie.  For me, there’s nothing more terrifying than being attacked in the water.   The primal fear of being attacked by something below you that you can’t see when you are completely out of your element is one that’s probably shared on some level by pretty much everyone, and this movie certainly exploits that.  There’s tons of scenes where people are pulled under and thrashed around in the water like rag dolls, and plenty of POV shots following people as they try to escape the water that play on those fears.  Most of the characters are your basic cookie cutter clichés, with some characters going WELL over the annoying, “I wish they’d get eaten” line (the bitch who gets mad about her boyfriend sacrificing her little rat kick dog to save himself from being eaten springs to mind, fuck I would’ve socked that bitch so fucking hard if I was that guy), but I find it’s best to simply put yourself into the situation as that makes this type of movie way more effective. 

One of my favorite scenes has one of the survivors don makeshift shark armor made of pieces of shopping cart with full soup cans to weigh him down.  He has to walk through the supermarket with the shark swimming around in there and reach the back room to turn off a breaker before the water rises in the room up to an exposed electrical cable.  See what I mean, this movie puts the characters through the ringer: tsunami, drowning, robbers, man eating sharks, and now electrocution too.  

So if you’re up for a new shark horror flick definitely give this one a shot, if you can get past some of the weaker CG shots (you’ll see what I mean about 5 minutes in when one of them leaps out of the ocean to eat a guy), it’s actually a pretty solid and gory little movie.  I recommend it, check it out!