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John’s Horror Corner: Bait 3D (2012)

September 2, 2013

MY CALL:  A simple not-too-over-the-top story, tolerable acting, some really fun kills and floating body parts make this well worth a low budget watch.  IF YOU LIKE THIS WATCHJaws (1975; if you’re in a serious mood).  But if you’re looking for something a little more festive, then aim for Deep Blue Sea (1999), Shark Night 3D (2011), Piranha (1978), Piranha 3D (2010), Piranha 3DD (2012).

The story is simple.  After a tsunami ravages an Australian beach town, survivors are trapped in a grocery store with a hungry great white shark.  The setting makes for a nice change of pace amid the shark movie extravaganza that has filled the last decade (e.g., Sharktopus, Mega Shark, Sharknado, Sand Sharks, Megalodon, Megashark vs. Giant Crocosaurus, Snow Shark, Megashark vs. Giant Octopus, Jersey Shore Shark Attack, Dinoshark, Attack of the Jurassic Shark, Jaws in Japan, Ghost Shark,  Malibu Shark Attack, Super Shark, Swamp Shark, 12 Days of Terror, Two-Headed shark Attack, Shark Swarm, Sharks in Venice, Spring Break Shark Attack, Shark Attack in the Mediterranean, Open Water, Red Water, The Reef, Hammerhead…need I go on?).

This is a bit more than a group of scantily clad brainless beauties and over-sexed underwear model punks against some sharks.  Tina (Scream Queen Sharni Vinson; You’re Next) and her ex-fiancée Rory (Xavier Samuel; The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2, Anonymous) are among the survivors.  They’re real people with real problems and real feelings.  A criminal (Julian McMahon; Nip/Tuck, Fantastic Four) and a young juvenile delinquent are among the dozen survivors, so naturally there is some bickering about trust issues.  But we don’t find ourselves too bogged down by their simple dynamic.  Some of the acting is pretty bad, but at least Sharni Vinson holds her own throughout (though not with a lead role or a breakout performance like she did in You’re Next) and Julian McMahon is also consistent.

Once the action starts, the girls are not in bathing suits and everyone keep their shirts on.  Lending a bit more credibility to the movie, rather unflatteringly the girls are clothed and wet with stringy hair and all most of the time; far from dolled up.  They also come up with some neat ideas, including a believable improvised diving suit caged for shark bite resistance and tubed for respiration.  Even when predictable, a couple of the kills were especially entertaining.  They also made good use of a cute dog.

Director Kimble Rendall has little experience being in charge, but has an impressive resume as a second unit director including two of the Matrix movies, I, Robot (2004), Killer Elite (2011) and Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (2009), so I’d expect he’s learned a bit about building tension and action.  His skills translated well in Bait–understanding his budget limitations.

There’s a mixed bag of terrible to acceptable CGI wound and shark effects.  But really fun anyway.  Latex and prosthetics work were easily “good enough,” but what saves the movie’s effects are the humorously placed severed parts. Whether bobbing in the water or drifting asunder, there’s plenty to entertain.  But, by the end you’ll find yourself wondering just how many people a 12-foot shark can eat before it gets full.

All in all, well worth a low budget watch.

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