Out on DVD this week is 'Bait', a 3D shark-driven horror from Australia only three decades late to the 'Jaws 3-D' party. Unfortunately, the DVD release is actually in 2D due to technical constraints, meaning you'll miss its glorious popping-off-the-screen action, but only in the narrowest sense of the word.
Perennial second-unit director Kimble Rendall's solo debut involves a group of mismatched Australians trapped in a tsunami-flooded supermarket, where they attempt to withstand the assaults of two sharks and a school of banalities. Xavier Samuel plays a former lifeguard whose relationship was destroyed by a shark attack one year before the disaster, with Home And Away' actress Sharni Vinson as the ex-fiancé he hasn't seen for a year who turns up in the market where he now works just before the tsunami hits.
These coincidences then coincide with a botched supermarket robbery foiled by a gruff cop (Martin Sacks) whose troubled, kleptomaniac daughter (Phoebe Tonkin) also happens to be in the supermarket. Tensions between criminals and shop assistants rise as they do hand-to-fin battle with nature.
Despite the ridiculous contrivances of writers John Kim and Russell Mulcahy, 'Bait' doesn't suffer from a lack of plausibility - not because there's anything even remotely rational going on, but because when you go to see a film like 'Bait', you adjust your suspension of disbelief accordingly. The CGI is laughably slapdash (although if you're paying £10 for the disc, it's probably not so funny), and is mainly used to fire sharks, seagulls, and general horror-film debris towards your face in service of a third dimension that isn't there.
Rendall spends plenty of time fleshing out his characters before feeding them to the sharks, but doesn't use that time particularly well. Of course, the criticism is in the former statement not the latter, because the characters simply don't matter. If anybody's seeing 'Bait', it certainly isn't because they were in a romance-and-intrigue kind of mood. What's on the poster? A massive goddamn shark. These characters are not people, they're the titular bait, and any time spent fleshing them out is time we could be watching them jump from vegetable shelf to frozen foods pursued by massive goddamn sharks.
It would be very easy to see this film, which tries so hard to be 3D but will only ever be viewed in 2D, as a metaphor for itself. Or maybe the metaphor is a flooded market, where actors balance their survival against the potential loss of dignity. Either way there's little to recommend 'Bait' apart from about fifteen minutes of shark-filled suspense scenes.
DVD EXTRAS:- Making of
'Bait' is available to purchase on DVD and Blu-ray (the latter also offers a 3D edition) from amazon.co.uk.