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Shark Bait (2022) – Review

May 27, 2022

Quick Thoughts – Grade – C – Shark Bait is a lean and mean 87-minute experience that features a few standout moments. If you’re looking for a movie that features a great white shark chasing down a jet ski, look no further than Shark Bait.

If you’ve read MFF for sometime you know that I love shark movies (I co-host Deep Blue Sea – The Podcast) and jet ski action scenes. That’s why when I first heard about Shark Bait (I like the original title more. It’s simply Jet Ski) I figured that it was going to be the best movie of the 2020s. In my movie world, it doesn’t get any better than watching spring breakers dealing with a great white shark while stranded in the ocean with only a jet ski between them and sharp teeth. It’s a perfect idea, and I’m sad to say that the movie doesn’t deliver upon the hype I unfairly put on it. The direction is solid, the actors are good, and there’s a moment in which a woman’s hair is caught in the wristwatch of a guy who is being dragged underwater by the killer shark (neat visual). Despite this inventive moment, Shark Bait is mostly a bland experience that sticks to self-seriousness instead of having fun. It’s definitely not in the league of The Shallows which combines humor, seagulls, psychotic sharks, and a likable hero who has three-dimensions. Instead, it plays like a less-tense The Reef (people are stranded and hunted by a shark), until the ending, when it finally decides to have some fun. 

The good news is that Shark Bait is better than most direct-to-streaming shark movies for several key reasons. First, you can tell that James Nunn, who directed the Scott Adkins’ film One Shot, and worked as the second-unit director on both 47 Meters Down movies, worked hard to make the film visually interesting. The on-location shoot in Malta adds a lot to the overall production as the crew and cast shot for 10-12 hours in the Mediterranean Sea to give the film an authentic look that will remind you of The Reef and Open Water (think lots of water, and zero help). Second, the cinematography by Ben Moulden is occasionally excellent as the jet ski scenes and overhead shots showcase the initial thrill of a joyride, then give the audience a feeling of isolation and danger. It must’ve been a beast to find 100+ angles to film the actors around the jet ski, but Moulden’s confident work gives the proceedings a polished look. Lastly, the finale of the movie features a great white shark chasing down a jet ski. It’s wonderful, and doesn’t end as tragically as the jet ski chase in Shark Night 3D does. 

The biggest problem with Shark Bait is that the characters leave zero impact, and the forced drama (cheating boyfriends…) and complete lack of humor don’t help the proceedings. I know that creating drama on top of drama isn’t a bad idea, and I’m not saying I could write a better screenplay than Nick Saltrese (A Prayer Before Dawn – watch it, He’s also worked on many British soaps, which potentially explains some of the drama), I just wish I could remember the names of the characters. It may be odd to want memorable characters in a movie where they exist to be eaten, but if it weren’t for some well-shot death scenes, all of the kills would fall flat because the characters aren’t anything special. Also, it is 100% their fault that they’re in the deadly predicament because during the last night of their college spring break, they steal two jet skis and almost immediately start playing a game of chicken that ends horribly. This leads to them becoming shark snacks and you never once feel bad for any of them. Of all the cast members, Holly Earl is the most memorable as she believably finds a wild amount of inner-strength to combat a great white shark who is so big and powerful that it destroys sailboats and can keep pace with a jet ski.

Final thoughts – Shark Bait features a shark chasing a jet ski, it’s worth the price of admission. Also, it’s WAY better than the 2021 stinker Great White.

One Comment leave one →
  1. May 29, 2022 10:04 am

    Shark vs jet ski? I’m in!

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