Saturday, September 21, 2013

Bait/Bait 3D (2012) (Spoiler Review)

**This review contains spoilers**

On an Australian beach one day, a lifeguard named Rory (Richard Brancatisano) is out in the water, unaware of an impending shark attack. Meanwhile, Rory’s best friend and fellow lifeguard, Josh (Xavier Samuel) is on the beach with his new fiancĂ© and Rory’s sister, Tina (Sharni Vinson). As the shark devours the first victim, Josh tries to save Rory before it’s too late. Using a jet ski, Josh is able to speed through the calamity in the water, but Rory is mangled to death by the shark before Josh has a chance to save him.

After a year passes, Josh, too traumatized to work as a lifeguard anymore, settles for a job at a local supermarket. Depressed and unable to forget about the past, Josh sees a chance to start over, when Tina strolls into the supermarket one day with her new friend, Steven (Qi Yuwu). But Josh doesn’t have time to reconnect, because his boss and the store manager, Jessup (Adrian Pang) interrupts the happy moment.

Meanwhile, in the same supermarket, Jaimie (Phoebe Tonkin) jeopardizes her boyfriend, Ryan’s (Alex Russell) job, when she’s caught shoplifting by the supermarket’s security guard and Jessup. Jaime is lucky enough to have her father Todd (Martin Sacks), who is also a police officer, receive the call for an arrest, but Todd decides to give his daughter a slap on the wrist instead. In the parking garage, Doyle (Julian McMahon) and Kirby (Dan Wyllie) plan a robbery to steal all the cash from the safe inside Jessup’s office, but Todd is able to foil the robbery. In the same parking garage, Kyle (Lincoln Lewis) pushes his girlfriend, Heather (Cariba Heine) to fool around in their BMW. And unbeknownst to Kyle and Heather, Ryan is in the garage working on his hippie van.

Out of nowhere, a giant tsunami wave destroys most of the city, while flooding the supermarket. To make matters worse, two twelve foot Great White Sharks swim into the chaos, with one circling the parking garage, and the other lurking inside the flooded supermarket. With a severely injured Todd unable to walk, the surviving group includes Josh, Tina, Steven, Jaimie, Doyle, Kirby, Jessup, and others with Ryan, Kyle, and Heather stranded in the parking garage. Josh assumes the role of leader, but he’ll have to overcome his fear of sharks, and some bitter feelings towards Tina to survive and ensure the safety of the group.

Weird, weird cast here. On one hand, you have Vinson, Samuel, McMahon, Tonkin, and Sacks, who all deliver decent to solid performances, with Vinson providing the best overall performance in the cast. But on the flip-side, you have so many terrible and mediocre performances to drag the movie down, with Pang being one of the worst.

And on top of that, the bad side of the cast has one too many unlikable and annoying characters. Heather is a run-of-the-mill narcissistic, whiny, and materialistic girlfriend, who shows too much concern for protecting her little dog, Bully. Kyle is a meathead jock/douchebag, Jessup is the overbearing boss, and Kirby is the sleazy thief/wannabe tough guy. As far as Rory goes, yeah his character is important, but it’s not fair to judge Brancatisano’s performance, because his character completely disappears after the shark attack.

Bait includes every typical and clichéd character you can think of in a horror survival film, where the main characters are barricaded inside a seemingly inescapable death trap:

-The uncooperative whiner (Jessup), who complains about everything.

-The one selfish person (kirby), who does something to jeopardize the safety of the group, so they can have a better chance of saving their own ass.

-The one person, who goes off on his own to fix a problem (in this case it’s Steven cutting off the power, so broken and live cables won’t hit the water), and of course, something goes wrong, and Steven dies.

-The tough and resourceful hard ass (Doyle), who miraculously pieces together some random contraption to save the day. Or he’s the guy, who comes up with most of (if not all of) the plans.

-The brave hero (Josh), who constantly risks his life to save everyone, while assuming the role of leader in the group

-And of course, you have someone, who’s suffering from a serious injury (Todd). But they don’t want to hold the team back, so they try to contribute, but they can’t……and in the grand scheme of things, Todd is still the weak link in the team.

Predictability is a big problem for Bait. You can see everything coming, and it’s not hard to predict every event in the entire movie step by step after the opening scene. You knew Jaimie would eventually change her attitude, and do something brave and selfless to prove to her father she’s capable of changing, and she did (Jaime jumps into the water to lure a shark towards her, giving Josh and the others time to set up a trap). You could see Steven’s death coming, Josh and Tina trusting each other again and becoming a couple didn’t surprise me, and for being such jerks, you knew Kirby, Kyle, and Jessup would suffer horrible, agonizing deaths, and they did.

But I’ll give Bait credit for a few eye-catching images. The next to final shot of the movie shows Josh and Tina holding hands, while they’re standing together with the other remaining survivors, and looking on in horror at the devastation the tsunami caused. Watching this one shot, you really feel the sense of relief for the survivors fighting and struggling to overcome more than one close call. Also, the final shot of the movie shows a shark randomly jumping out of the water to devour a flying seagull for a “it’s not over yet” cliffhanger. All of my complaints aside, it was a nice way to close out the movie.

And to be fair, Bait never tries to be too complex, and making a smart horror film wasn‘t the goal here. Bait should give gore fiends everything they want and more, and for a low budget film, the special effects aren’t that bad. In the end, Bait provides enough bloody carnage and gruesome, gory deaths to warrant a guilty pleasure pass. So yeah, if you’re looking for some passable dumb fun, and if you’re into shark attack horror movies, Bait is worth a try.

Rating: 5/10

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